Hands On Science

St. John’s loves Hands on Science. 2022-2023 was our first year using our new science curriculum, Amplify. This new curriculum was funded through a $20,000 grant from the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence and a $5000 grant from Minndependent. Our students participate in deep dives that last a full Trimester. In each deep dive students read, explore and write about the topic and do Hands on Science and engineering. For example, our second grade learned about properties of materials. During this unit they engineered their own glue and then changed variables in the recipe multiple times to master their recipe. Each class completes three units.

All of our students meet with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specialist multiple times each week.  Our STEM class has kits that last six to eight lessons and include reading, exploration, and engineering. Students make parachutes that save packages and design bridges to see how much weight they can hold. They learn about simple machines like levers, pulleys, and fulcrums, and they build and test windmills. Our STEM class also offers chances to learn about simple circuitry and to program robots. St. John’s preschoolers program simple robots and our older students program larger robots using an iPad.

We partner with the University of St. Thomas (UST) Engineering Department. Engineering students built four different projects and donated them to us. We also partner with UST in using their STEM lending library.

Thanks to a donation by a generous school family we have two aeroponics gardens. St. John’s students are taught STEM lessons using these gardens and enjoy smoothies made with the vegetables.

We hold an annual science fair and our students go on to both the Big Bang Catholic STEM fair and the Mankato Science Fair. We have multiple outdoor gardens where we grow flowers and vegetables and we annually tap our maple tree. We also host a variety of animal guests throughout the year including lambs, ducks, ducklings, chickens, and rabbits.