Grade K

…preparing young students for careers that don’t even exist yet!

Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics

stem graphpaper

S.T.E.M. Education is a federal initiative:

(1) to secure America’s leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; and, (2) to identify promising strategies for strengthening the education that leads to S.T.E.M. careers.


Allendale Columbia Lower School S.T.E.M. Teachers:  


Donna Chaback


Sue Sorrentino






CURRENT S.T.E.M. Units of Study 2018-19:               *Unit Highlights & Photos BELOW

  1. Urban Agriculture – completed
    • Overarching Question: Can you grow your own food even if you don’t own a farm?
    • Students create a vertical garden to grow several types of herbs
    • Students make their own greenhouse using plastic CD cases
    • Students learn to regrow new food from food scraps
  2. Buoyancy – completed
    • Overarching Question: What determines if an object is buoyant or not?
    • Student-led labs will determine how color, material, shape, mass, and type of water play a role in buoyancy
  3. African American STEM Leaders – completed
    • A collaborative project with homeroom teachers…
  4. Animal Classification – completed
    • Students learn the characteristics that determine if an animal is classified as: a mammal, a reptile, an amphibian, an insect, a bird, or a fish
  5. Navigation Engineering and the World of Programming – current unit of study
    • Kodable Programming
    • Programming Bee-Bot Floor Robots


Below are highlights of some of our Kindergarten, S.T.E.M. learning experiences throughout the years:

This webpage highlights some of our exciting Lower School S.T.E.M. learning experiences – including our current year programs, new programs in development and testing, as well as the units of study we typically provide our students. Collaborating with our numerous and global, collegiate and corporate partners, our S.T.E.M. programs continue to dynamically evolve each year with providing innovative and authentic learning experiences for our young students.

Optics / Photonics

With our years of experience in S.T.E.M. curriculum development and with Rochester, NY now designated the Photonics Hub of America, the Lower School S.T.E.M. Team has been requested to develop a comprehensive, grade-by-grade, Elementary Program in Optics. Working in collaboration with several university and corporate partners, we are excited to be engaging our Lower School S.T.E.M. students with actively field-testing our new Optics Programs, participating in our hands-on labs, and with also reporting out results and recommendations to corporate product development teams as well as, university level, Optics Departments – providing our students with authentic and relevant learning experiences!



Life Science Studies

..Unit of Study – Introduction to Life Cycles:  Seeds & Plants

…Learning about diagramming the parts of plants, the 4 main stages that make up the life cycle of a plant, capillary action, along with hands-on experiments on seed germination and various mediums.

…Unit of Study – The 5 Senses & Living vs. Non-living

…Learning about the 5 senses and their importance for scientific observation and studyStudying and classifying living and nonliving things in Classification LABS and Compare & Contrast LABS …Learning about plants and plant life cycles along with understanding capillary action, and so on.


…Unit of Study – Categorization of Animals

  • Focusing on how scientists categorize animals by their coverings
  • Specific categories of study: fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals


…Unit of Study – Natural World of Turtles

  • Just like real scientists, students first create their model of a turtle with learning the specific parts of a turtle, including: the carapace, the plastron, and the scutes

…Unit of Study – Dinosaurs & Paleontology Unit

  • Vocabulary: carnivore, herbivore, omnivore
  • Using observation and critical thinking skills, students make logical statements about dinosaurs. For example, a dinosaur that had sharp teeth was probably a carnivore, whereas a dinosaur with a long neck was probably an herbivore
  • Students also learn about what an archaeologist and a geologist do.
    • Paleontology vs. Gemology with Visiting Expert, Mrs. Lynn Thomas sharing expansive fossil and gem collection
    • Mock Archaeological Dig
    • Layers of the Earth (crust, mantle, outer core)
    • Types of Rock (sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic)
    • Final Unit Compare/Contrast Exercise: paleontologist versus archaeologist versus geologist

Visiting Expert, Mrs. Lynn Thomas, shares her samples and expertise in gemology and paleontology

Applied Sciences / Engineering / Programming

Kodable: Introduction to Computer Programming

A great introduction to programming concepts and problem-solving!

Kindergarten S.T.E.M. Students Learn Programming Concepts


Our Kindergarten S.T.E.M . students continue to amaze us with their aptitude for easily learning programming concepts. Prior to moving on to programming floor robots, kindergarten students first learn to program using the iPad app, KODABLE, for strengthening their understanding about programming for navigation and directions (left, right, forward, backward). It is in this learning context that our young students actually begin programming If-Then and Repeat Commands!

Students also learn how to play the ROBOT Turtles Board Game with the wonderful assistance of parents and grandparents. This is a great way students can further their understanding of programming concepts as well as with building their problem-solving skills.


Next, our young students move on to programming Bee-Bot Floor Robots, using navigation commands, with learning basic Logo programming commands such as Forward, Back, Left, and Right.

…Programming Floor Robots

Using the Bee-Bot Floor Robots, students apply hands-on learning in navigation engineering  programming concepts including: directions, angles, measurement, counting, adding, predicting, etc. – aligning with other content areas and skills.

Our young students continue to strengthen their programming skills with learning procedures for entering and deleting code on their robots as well as with recording their programming when successfully completing specific navigational challenges and physical mazes. Students also program their floor robots on specific content-area mats including, an alphabet mat, coin mat, town mat, number line mat, and a shape mat. Students solve for programming challenges such as programming their Bee-Bot to navigate and pause at each letter of their name on the alphabet mat along with also programming their Bee-Bot to land on the correct sum of two addends they roll for, and so on.

2012 Fall Poster BeeBots

Programming Bee-Bots, our Floor Robots!





In partnership with Alfred State College, REVTOS (a renewable energy training system) was placed on the Allendale Columbia campus for a period of three months. The REVTOS System is comprised of a 30′ x 5′ solar panel and a 30′ high wind turbine with a remote monitoring and data logging box located in the Lower School S.T.E.M. Lab. Students in grades K through 5 took full advantage of this system being on our campus with completing a variety of solar and wind power experiments and data collection.

Our kindergarten students learned how the solar panels and the wind turbine are being used to create energy. Students participated in hands-on labs to help them understand the difference between the heat from the sun and harnessing energy from the sun. In addition, students also participated in wind power labs for understanding the various characteristics of an object that make it more or less susceptible to moving via the wind. Through experimentation and testing, the students determined that weight, height, and shape are factors that decide how far an object can move in the wind.

Our young students continue to be highly engaged as they successfully progress through our systematic and interdisciplinary approach to developing S.T.E.M. fluency – with building on a culture of curiosity – starting in Kindergarten!

Check out our Channel 8 News Video:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: