LEADING WITH love and wisdom

Past Articles:
ROUTES TO ROOTS

By: Pnina S. Souid



The Shaare Torah Girls Elementary Division recently presented a spectacular STEM FAIR.  The theme was Routes to Roots, and the girls depicted with creative and educational exhibits how the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics goes together with acknowledging our illustrious roots.

The fair promoted the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate our promising future. The overwhelming positive response that Shaare Torah received from all who attended was phenomenal. Here is one response from a parent that captures the exhilarating feelings of the day.

“As I walked through each exhibit at today’s STEM FAIR, I became more and more awed by each and every student’s capabilities. It was an atmosphere which was so inviting, it was almost impossible to leave! The confidence of each child soared as they presented their presentation with excitement and glee. I can say with utmost certainty, the skills which the students built up will accelerate their success as they grow up and enter the real world as adults.” (Mrs. Victoria Grazi)

One of the first facts you must know about the STEM Fair is that from start to finish every aspect of each station exhibited the multi-layered and inter-disciplinary curriculum of the Shaare Torah Girl’s Elementary Division. The fair was prepared and presented under the auspices of the General Studies division: Mrs. Yona Krieser, principal of grades 1-4 and Mrs. Devirah Greenfield, principal of grades 5 – 8.  The girls were guided in their knowledge of Tanach and Jewish history to build a fantastic experience for others to partake in, and for them to benefit from as students and descendants of a special community.

Upon entering the STEM exhibit a wall displayed a huge tree with branches and pictures of each girl at Shaare Torah Girls Elementary Division. Each visitor received a STEM map as they entered - a basic road map, the route to your destination. Each page showed the grade and the exit, prepared like a road map for a travel brochure. The various stations were as follows: Ancestry Station, Planting Station, Immigration Station, Exploration Station, Robotic Routes in Israel Station, Math Play Station, Information and Invention Station, and Engineering Station.

Each class worked on some aspect of STEM in their own unique way. Grade one explored their family roots going back to their great-grandparents. These girls prepared short oral histories using photos and interviews. The first graders were able to set the scene with the very special connections made to their mothers and grandmothers, and in some cases great-grandmothers.

Second graders became farmers and horticulturists as they displayed herbs and spices they had grown in their classroom. They wrote books about their planting experience, describing each plant from seed to food. Third grade researched the immigration process at Ellis Island and presented a wall depicting the immigrant experience of their ancestors. Their exhibit elucidated their past and the special Syrian/Sephardic history of their parents and grandparents. Fourth grade presented a unit on the early explorers of the New World. After extensive research of the period of Exploration, they wrote newspaper articles about their explorers. Their exhibit included model caravel ships, artifacts from that era, and a display of spices.

Grade five’s theme was: Robotic Routes in Israel. The fifth graders built and programmed robots as well as designed and produced colorful and informative brochures linking our Biblical history to events in the 20th and 21st centuries. Grade six students were the creators of original, interactive computer math games. Grade seven researched Jewish inventors and their inventions, built models of the inventions, and organized a Wall of Fame. Last, but certainly not least, eighth grade used their knowledge of physics to design and build awesome structures.                                                                                        

All the guests at the exhibit saw clearly that the Roots were planted and transplanted with strength so that the Stem could show with clarity and beauty that we are an illustrious Community to be proud of.

Mrs. Krieser and Mrs. Greenfield thank Mrs. Sprei, their dedicated teachers, and the students who spent many hours developing these unique exhibits. Certainly, these girls now understand what a stem of a plant can produce and how the roots of a tree can be a sign for which route to take.