Exploration Time at Alpine!

Stem School

This year, we’re innovating new ways to teach students IB STEM Skills.  We’ve re-iterated our traditional 20 minute weekly library block into an awesome 45 minute weekly Exploration Time!  Students in Kindergarten -5th grade are working with Lesha Baker, Alpine’s School Media Tech and Master Librarian, to learn about important skills in exciting new ways.  Through inquiry-based learning, students are developing skills in research, presentation, writing for a variety of audiences, and are using technology as an instructional tool to support learning and create new learning opportunities. 

A large part of Exploration time with our intermediate grades will be spent using the Inquire Student Handbook (https://www.zaner-bloser.com/inquire). Some of the categories, including Building 21st Century Skills, Using the Inquiry Process, and Project Development will be used to develop IB STEM skills necessary for Alpine Students to be active members of their learning community.  In addition to this resource, we are also teaching students about Digital Citizenship.  Tech tools are an important part of Exploration. Students are learning how to use technology responsibly, and how to use it to enhance their learning. 

Students in Kinder-2nd will use modified lessons from the Inquire Student Handbook as well.  They will explore research using print and digital resources, as well as hands-on primary sources related to their Unit of Inquiry.  In addition, student will use graphic organizers to record information, visit websites for exploration and inquiry-based learning, and use apps like KidPix and Comic Life to present and share information. 

Each session of Exploration will fulfill requirements associated with IB Units of Inquiry and STEM learning practices and philosophies at Alpine, and support the work being done in the classrooms, and beyond. Currently Exploration Time is focused on using technology to bring Alpine into the 21st Century.  Our goal is to students how to digitize their current portfolios and create online portfolios. Our older students will support our younger students in the digitization of all portfolios, preschool-5th.  This opens up so many additional opportunities for students to showcase their learning.  Previously, we’ve been limited to paper copies with an occasional picture.  Now, we open up the possibilities to include recorded presentations, sound tracks, videos, plays, skits, collaborative projects and more.

Having this Exploration Time is a wonderful opportunity for students and teachers alike.  As students are engaged in inquiry based learning, teachers are doing the same thing.  They are looking at classroom data, standards, IB STEM practices and other aspects of student work in a collaborative setting to create a more streamlined and inquiry based teaching approach in the classroom.   We are so excited to see where Exploration will take us this year!