Harmony Public Schools Take STEM Education to Elementary

Harmony Public Schools invests in an equitable, rigorous STEM education for K-12 students

By leveraging grants and ensuring that educators have access to STEM resources, professional development and curriculum, Harmony is successfully helping students build foundations for academic achievement and career success with student-centered and inquiry-based curriculum.

About Harmony’s STEM Initiative

Harmony’s STEM programs are part of Harmony Public Schools Academic Department, which involves a team of curriculum specialists, instructional coaches, and lead teachers in Harmony Public Schools System, and three main components:

Photograph of a student at Harmony Public Schools doing an experiment and creating sparks

Project-based STEM Learning Programs

Students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects through STEM SOS, LEAF to STEM, and Tech App classes.
EasyCode Foundations Badge

Professional Development

Harmony partnered with Learning.com to provide STEM instruction support and required EIR Grant Teachers to become certified in EasyCode Foundations.
Photograph of a student at Harmony Public Schools using a computer

STEM Culture

Students are given opportunities to take STEM education beyond the classroom and see how today’s instruction connects to career and lifelong learning.
STEM SOS
Developed by Harmony, STEM SOS (STEM Students on the Stage) is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, standards-focused, and engaging STEM teaching approach that is teacher-facilitated, student-centered and directed through sets of project- and inquiry-based projects.
“LEAF to STEM”
Launching Elementary Academic Foundations to Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

This program builds upon Harmony’s proven STEM SOS model by introducing similar curricula to students in Grades K-5, and by creating a system of support and professional development for elementary school teachers.

LEAF to STEM doesn’t just teach students the principles of science, technology, engineering, and math; it helps learning come alive with engaging, cross-curricular activities.

Their curriculum includes EasyTech lessons that prove foundational for STEM success such as Computational Thinking, Keyboarding, Business Applications, Online Safety and Digital Citizenship. In addition, Harmony’s STEM curriculum includes:

  • EasyCode Foundations PBL Challenges
  • EasyCode Foundations PBL Games
  • Inquiry PBL Projects

LEAF to STEM integrates STEM principles across a variety of subjects with cross-curricular lessons, such as language-building skills during science class or engineering solutions for real-world problems learned in social studies.

For the 2020-21 school year, students in K-5 will use EasyCode Foundations powered by CodeMonkey (through Learning.com) for both block-based and text-based coding instruction that leads to student-created projects in the form of Challenges and Games.

Learning.com collaborates with educators to identify appropriate resources for their students.

Technology Applications Classes
In 2019-2020, Harmony aligned their existing Technology Applications classes to their STEM instruction.

There are 23 Technology Applications teachers at the 17 grant schools, and 7 of them qualified to receive PBL bonus by accomplishing guidelines as set forth by the district.

Students start every new academic year with a focus on the fundamentals of computers and keyboarding. Then, they focus on PBLs and Coding. Students worked on Inquiry Projects this year more than ever. Students were not only learning Technology Applications but also Math, Science, Social Studies and ELA by Inquiry Projects.

During the distance learning period prompted by COVID-19, students focused on coding by using EasyCode Foundations.

During the distance learning period prompted by COVID-19, students continued their STEM SOS instruction and project creation from home as Learning.com’s curriculum is available anytime/anywhere.

Harmony’s STEM Success

Students and teachers have expressed that they enjoy inquiry- and project-based projects.

During the 2019-20 year, K-5 STEM SOS students submitted 3,800 technology-based and core-aligned Inquiry projects, 1,069 coding challenge designs, and 481 coding game designs.

Secondary PBL (STEM SOS) was very successful, and though it’s early, LEAF to STEM is already showing promising results.

Images courtesy of Harmony Public Schools

Lessons Learned from Learning.com

STEM learning helps young learners better understand and connect to the world around them, while building foundations for later academic achievement and career success by developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Learning.com/LEAF to STEM ensures that students are introduced to STEM learning and digital literacy skills early, which continues throughout students’ time at Harmony.

Learning.com makes STEM learning fun with classroom technology projects, including app-building and robot programming.

Mastering digital literacy skills, such as keyboarding, business applications, online safety, computational thinking and coding prepares students for high-stakes online assessments, high school, post-secondary education, and the workforce.

“Learning.com is giving one-to-one support to teachers. Since their team has the data, they can see how our teachers are doing, and if they notice a potential challenge they can provide additional support. This is one of the reasons why our STEM program is successful.”

Levent Sakar, M.Ed., Curriculum Director – Physics, Technology Applications & CTE at Harmony Public Schools

“I am all for Learning.com because it supports teachers in providing STEM instruction and facilitating online learning.”

Yamini Pandey, Harmony Public Schools

“Students using Learning.com were already interested and motivated, which simplifies the transition to online or hybrid learning if it’s needed.”

Levent Sakar, M.Ed., Curriculum Director – Physics, Technology Applications & CTE at Harmony Public Schools

"The STEM SOS PBL model is an innovative teaching and learning approach where game-based and personalized learning are integrated with project-based learning through text-based coding. We only need to pursue and encourage our students to be creative.”

Oznur Dalkiz-Akviranli, Harmony Public Schools