Oley Valley STEM festival tempers assessment anxiety, challenges young minds
Young engineers and scientists at Oley Valley Elementary School are spending their days exploring and applying concepts in structural engineering, aerodynamics and mathematical principles. Oh, and some of them are taking the PSSAs this week, too. The rigorous schedule of the PSSAs tends to create an undue focus and sense of anxiety among young learners. The school is striving to provide fun, high-interest activities to keep students engaged in learning during the seemingly long days of PSSA testing. During the Oley Valley elementary STEM festival, students work together at a hands-on exploration center created by staff and parent volunteers. The center includes a variety of activities and projects to be completed in small groups. While exploring the stations, students must apply a variety of academic concepts, develop a few construction skills and collaborate with classmates they may not encounter in their daily routines. In addition, classes are presented with challenges to resolve together, using tools on hand and gathering and sharing ideas throughout their classroom.