Every Drop Counts provides STEM opportunities for PCSD students
April 15, 2019
Hillside and Greenbriar Middle School students got a boost of math and science after school thanks to the Every Drop Counts program.
About 50 students in fifth through seventh grade at each building attended the six-week program, which was generously funded by a Cox Charities Community Grant and supported by MyCom and Ohio Guidestone.
“This program really focused on math remediation along with incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) principles,” explained Ava Yeager, Director of Federal Programs at Parma City School District. “Students came twice a week after school for two hours. One hour was spent on math and another hour was spent doing engaging, hands-on science activities primarily on water conservation.”
The program also included guest speakers and a community service project for a well-rounded experience.
“The math part taught us a lot of things that we already learned but it was a good review,” shared Cassie R., a Hillside student who participated in the program.
Hillside Math Teacher Cathy Futey and Intervention Specialist Laurie Best said they focused their math portion on fifth-grade common core standards through a variety of activities.
“We had homemade board games, one-on-one work, dry erase board partner work and whole group AIR test preparation,” they explained. “We stressed the importance of quality versus quantity when completing any type of math challenge. Overall, we saw a growth in both areas of confidence and math skills.”
Erica Bongiovanni, Learning Lab teacher at Hillside, said the science portion of the program focused on how to protect and conserve water and included many engaging lessons that got students thinking.
Density, oil spills and invasive species to Lake Erie were just a few of the science topics discussed and each had a hands-on activity, she explained.
She also led the math portion of the program for sixth and seventh graders, and they worked on multiplication, division and word problems.
“I believe the students who regularly attended learned and grew a lot from this experience,” Bongiovanni expressed. “I hope students see that the extra time and long days were worth it. I also hope they gain confidence in math and science and pursue STEAM enrichment programs in the future.”
She added there was time for students to get to know each other and for her to get to know the students better, which was another benefit of the program.
"Science was very fun and taught us a lot of things about the ocean and water," Hillside student Carolina M. shared. "I really enjoyed making homemade lava lamps that weren't really lava lamps. They were just salt water, fresh water, and oil to look like a lava lamp."
At the end of the six weeks, the program celebrated the students' success by inviting their families to an event called Watermania.
Hillside's event was on April 9, while Greenbriar’s event was on April 11. Each event featured dinner, giveaways and the opportunity for families to create a closed water cycle terrarium to take home.
“We recognized that there was a need to expand the school day for students to work on math and science, so we wanted to offer that opportunity,” Yeager said. “It just reinforced those important math and science skills and created a strong connection between the school day and the afterschool world.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Students at Hillside Middle School learn about ecology by making closed water cycle terrariums on April 9. The program was funded by a Cox Charities Community Grant and supported by MyCom and Ohio Guidestone.