Hands-on projects drive LASD student learning

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Covington School first-graders inflate balloons en route to a parachute design exercise that highlights project-based learning.

A xeroxed worksheet. A diorama. A report read verbatim from the page. When you think of elementary school projects, you may imagine these “dumpster projects” of yore, labored over and then tossed. But in Los Altos School District classrooms today, project-based learning creates experiences not so easily discarded.

Scrounging balloons for an ad hoc parachute drop, Kim Nero’s Covington School first-graders built their own paper clip conveyances last week. And in Katie Farley’s STEM lab at Covington, fifth-graders became research scientists, studying the potential colonization of Mars. Their project is driven by the same questions real-world researchers take on: What kind of precautions do humans need to safely explore space? What solutions would they need to design before sending colonists to Mars?

In a STEM-loving world, humanities still play a role

Humanities. The first five letters of the word are indicative of its importance – “human.” The study of the human-being.

Foothill's Physics Show spreads science enthusiasm

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Professor David Marasco, Foothill College physics instructor, demonstrates physics in action as he breaks a cinder block on top of fellow physics professor Frank Cascarano at The Physics Show last week.

After the lights dimmed in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College campus last week, approximately 950 third- and fourth-graders screamed with excitement as a fluorescent sign flickered “The Physics Show.”

The students, from schools with a high concentration of low-income families, were invited to campus to see The Physics Show, take a campus tour and have lunch.

Loyola School recognized for digital citizenship

Courtesy of Nicole Snedigar
Los Altos Police Officer Ryan Langone shares tips for navigating the internet safely with students at Loyola School. Loyola recently received recognition for promoting digital citizenship.

Common Sense Education, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, recently recognized Loyola School as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School.

Loyola is the first elementary school in the Los Altos School District to receive the certification.

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