Nearly 150 first, third and fifth grade students explored science through Project-based Learning as part of Milpitas Unified School District’s inaugural April Academy, which was held during Spring Break April 11-15 at Spangler Elementary School.
“All week the students were collaborating, planning, writing, researching, problem solving, and working with each other on a focused science unit,” said April Academy Principal Andrew Dinh.
Goals of the April Academy were to provide student access to rigorous and engaging instructional content; promote collaborative teamwork in researching and designing a product that is accessible to the community; and building self-efficacy in student motivation to be proactive in their learning.
“As a program, it went great,” said Dinh, noting that nearly 90 percent of parent survey respondents said they would return next year. “I can imagine this program growing and expanding.”
The Academy consisted of three first-grade teachers, two third-grade teachers, one fifth-grade teacher, and a specialty teacher who concentrated on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), physical education and art. Students went through a slightly modified school day from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch were provided at no cost to families.
First graders explored structures and behaviors of plants and animals, and then designed a nature-inspired solution to a student identified problem. Third graders investigated local species, researched and recorded information, and communicated those findings to a larger group.
“My favorite part was cup-stacking with rubber bands and working as a team,” said Anya, a third-grade student.
Fifth graders explored the most frequently used types of plastic, studied how recyclable they were, and identified what happens to mismanaged plastic.
“What’s great about April Academy is we can all work together on our projects,” said Kimberly, a 5th grader.
“I like how we learned a lot about plastics and we gave a presentation to the class about it,” added Alena, a 5th grader.
At the end of the week, students presented their science projects and discoveries to high school student volunteers, staff and families.
“They presented their findings and how it affects the environment,” Dinh shared. “I was very impressed with the outcomes. They were able to reflect and collaborate with each other.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.