Students at LMS are incredibly fortunate to have weekly science lab instruction; this is one of the key applications of the LMS Annual Fund, and it is so rewarding to see how engaged the students are in this hands-on learning. Mrs. Avans enjoys seeing it too, sharing that she loves teaching in the lab! Each grade level benefits from her instruction and has already taken part in enriching experiments during this school year. Just to name a few of these recent classes, kindergarteners completed STEM activities to learn about balance and weight distribution by stacking blocks, dishes, and pennies, just like Molly Lou Melon, the main character in their reading unit. First-graders learned about behaviors of light in an experiment using lamps as the sun to warm and power tiny models of “Chill City.” Second-graders rang bells in and out of different containers to better hear how sound causes vibration. Third-graders analyzed aquatic and land plants - even dissecting some of them - to better understand how their structures help them survive. Fourth-graders built pool-noodle rollercoasters and virtual skate parks to see potential and kinetic energy at work, and fifth-graders built their very own water bottle rockets to see gravity and friction in action!
Some of the hands-on science takes place on an even bigger scale. Every single LMS student gets to spend time learning to code on the Scratch and ScratchJR apps, and upper grades got to take part in maybe the largest project of all, a visit from the Creative Discovery StarLab. During this experience, students in the LMS gym sat inside a giant inflatable “night sky” that reached even higher than the basketball hoops to see projections of images from the solar system.
Some of the learning even goes beyond the halls. Mrs. Avans coaches the LMS Robotics team along with fifth grade teacher Lisa Inman. This year’s team of fourth and fifth-graders included Deyaan Dewaldi, Hugh Gerwin, Betsy Mitchell, Charles Barnes, Alex Faler, Lucas Jensen, Caroline Johnson, Andrew Smith, Payton Sprouse, and Kase Fugate. The team qualified for the regional championship of the First Lego Robotics Challenge in January, where they presented research and an innovative project around this year’s theme of “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.” Their work focused on the use of a hybrid energy station that incorporated renewable energy with an organic redox flow battery. They won the Core Values Award for Displaying Cooperation and Gracious Professionalism, and their project placed 11th out of 24 teams from Tennessee and North Georgia. Mrs. Avans and Mrs. Inman were very proud of the team, saying, “We love to see how the team each year grows in the skills and knowledge of coding and core values. These skills make our school a special place and will serve them well as they grow into successful community members.”
The whole student body is proud of this performance by their peers, and they are excited to see what Mrs. Avans has in store for them during their next science lab coming up! These engaging lab activities really do bring learning to life for students, and the support of the LMS Annual Fund ensures that this type of enrichment in subjects like science, art, music, literacy, and physical education continue in a meaningful way for LMS students.
by Meredith Brown