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Welcome To Our New RE@L Website Feature, STEM Case Studies

Case Study 1: REALMS Middle School

If you are one of our regular RE@L website readers, you know well RE@L has long been supportive of more effective STEM in K12 schools everywhere. So much so, that we are creating our own STEM software products. More on that later.

realms-schoolHere we present to you two timely STEM Case Studies. The first is from Bend, Oregon. Educators there tell us the story of the Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School, or REALMS school. Students get their education just as much from the outdoors as they do indoors. Click on the graphic to the left to learn more. 

Recently, the local Bend, OR newspaper, The Bulletin, reported that the REALMS school was awarded the rare and coveted Expeditionary Learning Education Credential, a recognition held by only 30 of 150 such schools nationwide. Here’s the link to the story. The article also references two other relevant links, “hands-on” learning and “online portfolios,” key components to both Expeditionary Learning and STEM.

Kids learn “hands-on and heads-on”. They learn in the classroom, then do real-world explorations, and often share their findings with the scientific community. Even more, students learn they can create their own STEM career futures.

Every fall, students from REALMS head out into the forest for a lesson in the health of our waterways. These students can already take credit for more than a decade worth of research and data that helps monitor the health status of Tumalo Creek.

Here’s how REALMS students learn and do STEM: Click on the graphic to the right to see a video of their active STEM-based learning. You can see how their active, hands-on learning engages them in real-world projects.

Here’s a statement from one of their teachers: “We have been at this project for over 10 years, sampling the same watershed area, looking at the changing effects of a fire that went through many years before. We focus on both water quality and aquatic insectsKids in this class spend 6 days in the field collecting pertinent data. They also study forest growth and the re-introduction of a naturally flooded meadow. The mathematics teacher helps them in measuring how much carbon is contained in certain trees. This data is used to compare it to the carbon ‘footprint’ we each produce .”

Now, that’s real STEM learning!