STEM at Beth Tfiloh: A Bold New Approach to 21st Century Learning

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Mr. Vince Bonina shows orthotic hands to high school students

Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School is proud to unveil a new school-wide STEM initiative, which encompasses three dimensions: building a STEM mindset, setting 21st century student learning goals, and implementing the STEM Learning Action Plan.

Mr. Vince Bonina, Beth Tfiloh’s newly-appointed Director of STEM Education, explains, “As our understanding of student learning evolves and as the skills needed to participate in business and industry change, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics stand out as increasingly more relevant.” The STEM mindset is a 21st century, holistic educational approach that represents a shift from compartmentalized subjects to interdisciplinary study.

“Every single division – from PreSchool through High School – has been encouraged and supported to enhance STEM and 21st century learning integration in their curricula,” said Beth Tfiloh Director of Education Dr. Zipora Schorr.

21st Century Student Learning Goals

Beth Tfiloh’s 21st century learning goals are bold, designed to transform students’ learning experience by shifting students from knowledge consumers to producers through collaborative, creative, interdisciplinary learning and exploration. Greater technology integration empowers students to explore their environment in new and exciting ways, make data-driven decisions, and communicate their ideas deliberately and accurately.  BT students at all grade levels are challenged to meet and exceed these goals across our rigorous dual general and Judaics curriculum.

Increasing Technological Fluency and Integration

A critical component of this school-wide initiative is increasing the technical fluency of our faculty and students with both hardware and software to enhance their STEM learning. BT alumnus Mr. Aryeh Eisenberg ’96, Beth Tfiloh’s new Director of Instructional Technology, is partnering with BT’s talented technology team to implement a seamless educational technology program throughout the school.

“My goal is to maximize the use of educational technology in Beth Tfiloh’s educational experience,” said Mr. Eisenberg, who is also the founder and CEO of the successful online learning platform Bonim B’Yachad. Drawing upon his 20+ years of experience in the “EdTech” arena, Mr. Eisenberg will serve as a resource for staff to expand their technology, pedagogy and general 21st century instruction.

STEM Learning in Action

Beth Tfiloh students are already benefitting from these immersive STEM learning experiences:

 PreSchool

PreSchool student watches a 3D dreidel printing in the STEM Center

PreSchool students explore the world beyond their classroom through images and videos projected on their walls. These life-size visuals help bring newly-learned concepts to life, engaging their curiosity and allowing them to reflect on their prior learning and experiences. Two-year-olds enjoyed their first moonwalk, gazing upwards to images of the moon projected on their classroom ceiling. Technology is also fused with mindfulness practices, when PreSchool students reflect upon their week’s learning each Friday while viewing a projected week-in-review slideshow. Sometimes, their curiosity leads them to the High School STEM Center, where they get to recreate items they learned about in class using the 3D printer and other university research lab-level equipment.

Lower School

Lower School students videochat with Dead Sea Scrolls expert Dr. Lawrence Schiffman

Lower School students work through the design process — imagining, planning, creating, improving and communicating — to solve challenges posed by their teachers or fellow students throughout the learning process. The students share their learning in online Seesaw portfolios for their parents to track and enjoy their progress, using the bank of iPads available in each classroom. They also use their iPads to access the Lower School library’s e-book and interactive book collection, growing their reading skills in a fun and engaging way. They also consult with Israel-related subject matter experts from around the world through video chat technology, enhancing their in-depth learning about the country’s people, history, and culture in preparation for the annual Israel Fair.

Middle School

Middle School students contruct the Ten Commandments tablets in the STEM Center

Middle School students are mastering the Microsoft Office suite, building the skills needed to create professional documents and engaging presentations, and to gather and analyze data. These skills will prepare them for the next steps in their academic journeys, and ultimately, for their professional careers. Students are also bringing their learning to life in the STEM Center, designing and producing 3D models of complex concepts from general and Judaic studies courses.

High School

High School students build orthotic hands in STEM Center

All ninth grade students hone their design thinking skills while working through the engineering design process in the new Introduction to Engineering Technologies, a part of Beth Tfiloh’s new engineering track. Students learn how to use all of the equipment in the state-of-the-art STEM Center, including 3D printers, CNC routers, and the laser cutter/engraver. High School Judaics students reflect upon each day’s lesson in their class’s podcast, which is shared with fellow students and their parents to engage them in these important values-based discussions.

At the annual High School STEM Day, Beth Tfiloh High School students explore a broad range of STEM careers with leading professionals from top area firms, startups, government agencies, universities and hospitals, gaining insight regarding necessary education for specific career paths.

Follow Beth Tfiloh on Facebook and Instagram for the latest developments in various school-wide initiatives, or visit our website: www.bethtfiloh.com/school.

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