King Philip Regional School District Hosts DESE Representatives During Massachusetts STEM Week

Superintendent Dr. Rich Drolet and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Susan Gilson are pleased to announce that the King Philip Regional School District hosted representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) during Massachusetts STEM Week.

On Friday, Oct. 20, DESE Deputy Commissioner of Education Russell Johnston, Associate Commissioner for the Center for Instructional Support Erin Hashimoto-Martell and Associate Commissioner of the College Career and Technical Education Liz Bennett visited King Philip Regional Middle and High Schools classrooms as part of Massachusetts’ annual STEM Week, recognized this year from Oct.16-20. During their visit, DESE representatives witnessed some of King Philip’s STEM learning experiences at both the middle and high school levels.

DESE representatives first visited King Philip Regional Middle School seventh grade STEM teacher Dr. Susan Hall’s classroom to watch students participate in a hands-on science experiment.

As part of her lesson, Hall empowered her students to engage with STEM topics through the Growing Beyond Earth Citizen Science project. After having students think about how astronauts remain healthy on the moon, Hall’s seventh grade students conducted an experiment that required them to simulate food growth on the moon with seeds, moon dirt and a water source.

Students collected data on their Google spreadsheets and then reported on their lab journey via the Big Book Sheet. The Big Book Sheet is part of a process that was initially introduced by DESE and provides students with a comprehensive format for documentation. Students will also relay their findings to NASA scientists who will use the results of testing to inform the Kennedy Space Center.

“My doctoral research showed me how students connect with STEM activities when they have real purpose and meaning,” said Dr. Hall. “The Growing Beyond Earth Citizen Science project allows students to act as scientists, share live data with NASA, and make a difference in the aerospace community. What could be better than that?”

Hall is also a 2022 National STEM Scholar.

DESE representatives also visited King Philip High School Computer Science and Physics Teacher Matt Gorr’s classroom where students conducted an innovative experiment with robotic hands and brain controlled interfaces.

With this innovative learning experience, students were able to get a better perspective of what their level of attention was using brain controlled interfaces which provided visual feedback as they listened to different types of music, did breathing exercises, or played video game. Students also had the opportunity to link the brain controller interfaces with coding to manipulate the robotic hand.

The DESE representatives asked questions and interacted with students during their visits to both classrooms.

“It was a pleasure to host several representatives from DESE last week and have the opportunity to showcase how STEM initiatives impact our students learning through hands on experiments and problem solving,” Superintendent Drolet said. “Whether through STEM initiatives or anything else, we appreciate how our teachers facilitate learning using real-world applications.”

Both the middle school and high school shared a competitive Department of Education STEM Digital Literacy and Computer Science grant which supports teacher training, course development and equipment purchases. This grant supported both classrooms’ activities.


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