NMS in the News!

3M grant gives Makerspace goodies to Nissitissit Middle School

Nashoba Publishing

POSTED:   11/21/2017 12:35:31 PM EST


By Anne O’Connor


PEPPERELL — Middle school students will be going even more high-tech in a hands-on classroom where they can make things that work.

A $2,500 grant from 3M will enable the school to purchase screens for the Raspberry Pi teaching computers it already owns. They are set up in the school’s makerspace.

“It will give each kid a workstation,” said Evan Worth, technology and makerspace teacher at Nissitissit Middle School.

The innovative classroom comes at little cost to the district. “The whole thing is really grant funded,” he said.

“I’m lucky that we have some parents from 3M,” Worth said. “They kind of tipped me off about it.”

In the classes, which meet, once a week, students might make an electric circuit using tinfoil and batteries or print something on a 3D printer.

“All over the spectrum of STEM,” he said.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sets standards for science, technology, engineering and math in the curriculum.

Students learn the basics of programming and making their own robots, Worth said.

“They love it,” he said.

Makerspace learning has been compared to technical classes from an earlier era, he said. Instead of cutting wood and designing shelves, kids use computers and other new technology.

The learning style can engage students who are not strong in traditional subjects.

 A couple of his students are really good at programming, Worth said. They made a really cool clock.

Teaching in a non-traditional classroom is a lot more work than teaching the standard curriculum.

“I’m making this, the whole curriculum, up,” Worth said.

The district is considering a new curriculum from a Massachusetts company, FableVision, which uses project-based learning.

“I think that will be good,” he said.

Using the makerspace as part of a project-based learning might mean something like an English teacher using the lab so students can use paper-cutters to tell a story.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.

Read more: http://www.nashobavalleyvoice.com/ci_31470402/3m-grant-gives-makerspace-goodies-nissitissit-middle-school#ixzz4zAboZd7y

Lowell Mills Field Trip

Last week, the 8th grade split team traveled to the Tsongas Industrial Historical Center to visit the Lowell Mills. This trip was the culminating event for the Industrial Revolution unit of study.  The two groups of students engaged in two different hands on activities.  Workers on the Line: Students worked on an assembly line where they experienced a loss of control over work through speed ups, reaction to wage cuts, and then had to decide on a course of action. Bale to Bolt: Students weaved cloth, learned how cloth is woven on power looms, and discovered how inventions affected workers and production. They also explored workers’ lives through visiting boarding houses, the working factory floor, and other museums and exhibits. A great day was had by all!

State House Field Trip

The Seventh Grade White Team had the perfect day to walk the Boston Freedom Trail and tour the Massachusetts State House. Characters dressed in Revolutionary War attire guided the students along memorable streets that witnessed the Boston Massacre. Students visited Faneuil Hall, as well as the cemetery where Paul Revere is buried. The walk ended at the Boston Common where students toured our glorious State House and witnessed where bills are made into laws. We weren’t lucky enough to catch a glimpse of our governor, but our tour was arranged by our local State Representative, Sheila Harrington.




Snow Day Extended Learning


The district leadership team has been exploring the possibility of initiating a pilot of Extended Learning opportunities for students as an alternative to making up all snow days at the end of the school year.  This past week Superintendent Landers informed the school committee of the formation of a district-wide work group to put together a proposal to present for a pilot of this initiative.  

The district is seeking to form a committee comprised of representation from the following groups: School Committee, a parent representative from each of the three towns, faculty members from each of the three levels (elementary, middle, high), a support staff member and one or more members of the district leadership team.  The meetings to review the research already completed by the leadership team and to put together a proposal for our district pilot to present to the school committee will be held on the following dates and times:

Monday, November 6, 2017, 5:00-7:00 pm at the NMRSD high school

Monday, November 13, 2017, 5:00-7:00 pm at the NMRSD high school

Monday, November 27, 2017, 5:00-7:00 pm at the NMRSD high school

The presentation to the school committee is tentatively scheduled for Monday, December 4th. Winter and spring dates will be determined by the committee as needed after the presentation to the school committee in December.  

If you are interested in being a part of this Snow Day Extended Learning Pilot Committee, please email Becky Janda, principal of Spaulding Memorial School, who will be chairing this committee at bjanda@nmrsd.org by this Thursday, November 2.