LEAP (Learing Enrichment Activities Program) is designed to be an opportunity for students to learn, collaborate, imagine, create and problem-solve in an entirely hands-on environment. Students are encouraged to pursue their individual interests and passions, while receiving the opportunity to be exposed to different types of technology and phsyical materials that will allow them to be creative and innovative as they explore the answers to different meaningful questions and projects.
LEAP lessons and opportunities are mostly comprised of components from the STEAM* and Makerspace* methods of learning. STEAM lessons are mostly taught in a whole-group setting where all students are learning about the same topic in conjunction with a hands-on activity. Makerspace time is when students can gravitate toward the topics and/or skills that interest them individually. It is also a place where students can invent, explore, and find information and solutions through their own process. Makerspace time is is mainly self-guided, with student-generated goals and purposes in mind.
During both LEAP and Makerspace time, students are introduced to new technology and skill sets.
Research (and common sense!) shows that students learn at a deeper level and retain more information when they are engaged in the topic. These hands-on opportunities allow for greater understanding while cultivating enthusiasm and curiosity. Self-guided projects that are generated by the students' own interests keep them invested and lead to their own processes of problem-solving, thinking critically, and how to learn and revise after making mistakes. At the end of projects, students should have a complex understanding of the topic, be able to fully explain it and take ownership of the end result.
For the 2019-20 school year, all students, from First through 6th grades, will spend 40 minutes each day, for a 9-week period of time in the LEAP Lab.
*STEAM: Learning focused on including a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics
*Makerspace: A place for students to explore their own interstes by using physical and virtual tools to develop creative digital or phsyical projects, solve problems, and answer questions.
The PALS (Proficient and Accelerated Learning Students) Program is separate from LEAP. PALS are a small group of students from grades 3-6 who have exhibited gifted and talented qualities. Official screening begins towards the end of 2nd grade using the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test), MAP assessments, and teacher input. 3rd and 4th grade PALS students meet 2-3 times per week for 40 minutes, and 5th and 6th grade PALS students meet each day. Students work on accelerated projects and activities to help ensure that they are learning at an appropriate pace and level.
The 2018-2019 school year was the inaugural year for both the LEAP and PALS programs and are unique programs to Heyworth Elementary School.
The 8 Criteria for Authentic STEM Programs: LINK