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Kindergarten students have been studying about flowers during our Green Energy: Kinder"garden" unit of study. Every child has investigated the shapes, colors, patterns, and design of flowers as they attract different pollinators to help flowers grow and continue to make more flowers. In addition, all students were blessed with a generous donation of daffodil bulbs from Wihebrink Landscaping Management. We were able to diagram the parts of a bulb and ask lots of questions about flowers that grow from seeds that we plant in the spring and flowers that grow from bulbs that we plant in the fall. Finally, kindergarteners went out into our garden beds and planted daffodil bulbs that we will anticipate their spring arrival by the end of the school year. Just in time for Mother's Day! :)

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First grade teacher, Mr. Bailey, has had an indoor bee hive for the past four years at Washington STEM Academy. The introduction of the hive was awarded through the Red Apple Grant with the Warsaw Education Foundation. Mr. Bailey has used the bees as a study focus for teaching life cycles and the life sciences with his first graders. Students have learned so much about the bees by studying them closely in ways that otherwise would not be possible. We get a close up view to how they communicate with all their different jobs, make food for the colony, protect the hive, care for the queen as she lays eggs, and even do dances!

The most recent development this past spring and summer has been the planting of pollinator gardens with the new landscaping around Washington. On the south end of the building, in the front, is a wildflower garden that has been seeded and will be flowering in the next couple of years. In addition, we have pollinator gardens planted on the east and north sides of the building. All of these gardens came from Mr. Bailey's first graders who asked some really good questions. You see, a year or so ago, our entire hive of bees suddenly died one weekend. We were curious as to what happened and students came up with some theories about the cause of the harm to the bees. One of those theories was the chemical spraying that goes on in fields and areas where bees will often gather pollen to bring back to the hive. Students in Mr. Bailey's class started asking, what if we provide food for the bees ourselves? Can we plant gardens for the bees to gather food from that is safe for them and close to their hive? And so the idea of pollinator gardens around Washington was born.

Washington has partnered with Scott Fetters, from the Indiana Fish and Wildlife Service, to aid in providing wildflower seeds for this project. Joel Wihebrink from Wihebrink Landscaping Management has generously donated time and resources to install the plants and seeds for these gardens. Mr. Bailey's students have also assisted in the planting of these gardens around the school. This project is no small task and Washington has been greatly blessed by the community partnerships that have come alongside this effort!

Throughout our time of caring for the bees we have had experts in the field lead and guide us. Jeremy Corson, husband of Mrs. Corson, has donated time and resources to tend to the many needs of the hive. He has helped us expand our hives as we have seen our one hive grow so large that it needed to be split for another hive. Now as you pass on the north side of Washington you will see a couple of outdoor bee hives flourishing. Jim LeMasters, from Warsaw Community Schools, has contributed time and knowledge to ensuring our beehive is successful. Jeremy and Jim have been a powerful duo in setting our hives up well. 

Finally, completed just this past week is a new educational display on the outside entrance to Mr. Bailey's beehive. Mr. Bailey worked with his students and with Brad Robert from Robert Signs to create a long-lasting wrap to educate students, families, and the community about bees and all of their fascinating jobs, facts, and benefits. There is a plexiglass cut-out in the front of the display so that everyone can safely see the bees entering and exiting the hive. We would invite everyone to come and see the bee exhibit on the north east side of Washington and learn more about the incredible lives of bees!


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Washington STEM Academy is proud to announce another extremely successful Caterpillar Challenge this year! Students from kindergarten through 6th grade were challenged by Mr. Wall's class to collect caterpillars as part of their study of the insect life cycle. The "money" caterpillars were monarchs and they were worth two points while all other caterpillars were worth one point. This year we saw a great variety of different caterpillars and an abundance of monarchs than we saw the previous year! 

Students in Mr. Wall's 2nd grade have been studying the life cycle of the monarch as they carefully investigated monarch eggs all the way to now as we are releasing new monarch butterflies. As of today, we have released 17 monarch butterflies back into our community and we fully expect our number to triple before the end of September! Mr. Wall's students have done the heavy lifting by daily collecting caterpillars from each classroom and tallying the totals for record keeping. Their reward then has been to be the ones to release the butterflies back into the wild!

Thank you to all the students and families in kindergarten through 6thgrade that participated this year in this challenge! A special thank you to Mr. Wall and his leadership in championing this school-wide challenge, we are blessed to have Mr. Wall back at Washington again this year!

Top 3 Classes (by points):
1. Ms. White's class (5th grade) = 230 points
2. Mrs. Corson's class (kindergarten) = 100 points
3. Mr. Bailey's class (1st grade) = 40 points

*The winning class will be gifted a pizza party coming up this month! More information to come soon.

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4th grade students in Mr. Hawblitzel's 4th grade have started the year learning about the scientific process through the introduction of using Lego EV3 robots. Students engineered a basic robot that gave them opportunties to work well with others. After the bots were built, students then learned about the modes and parameters used to program their individual bots. We investigated driving the robot forward to a predetermined distance using the scientific process and gathering data through trials and observations. Finally, from setting a foundation of the basic programming movements, students accomplished a challenge to drive around a four square foot box. This learning will build for the years to come in 5th & 6th grade!

Photo Cred: Mr. Hawblitzel

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Students in both 5th & 6th grade were treated to a demonstration of the micro surfacing that is taking place all along many of our city streets in Warsaw. Pavement Solutions have been contracted to complete the job in collaboration with the city street department. The science that goes into balancing the aggregate, cement, and water mixture is an incredible lesson in chemistry. Our students were able to participate in the demonstration themselves as they made the mixture in our "laboratory". We then had the opportunity to see the heavy machinery in action with some spots on Kincaide St. Thank you again to all those involved with providing such an enriching experience with something we often drive by and do not give much thought to!


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