It is all in the details…traffic patterns, where to park, active pick-up and the “hug & go” zone.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer before or after school, view our volunteer form at the link below.
Field trips at Wauwatosa STEM are integral to the mission of the school and its vision of providing environments where students are inspired to inquire, investigate and discover the world around them. They are viewed as extensions of the classroom. All experiences are curriculum driven and are planned to enhance certain areas of study. Creating authentic learning experiences associated with the core STEM expectations has become an important educational practice at WSTEM.
Our field trips facilitate the learning of abstract concepts and improve long-term retention of concepts. Our beyond-the-classroom experiences are intended to develop a social consciousness and an increased appreciation for the phenomenon being studied. The field trips are designed to immerse the students in the experience while motivating students through increased interest and curiosity.
Field trips are seen as a practical application and component of life at Wauwatosa STEM and are a sustaining element to the WSTEM experience.
In preparation, the staff from Wauwatosa STEM meets with zoo representatives prior to the start of the academic year to plan the upcoming experiences. This partnership allows the teachers the ability to develop extension activities for the classroom to build on the knowledge gained from their visit.
Getting children involved in the arts at an early age is key for maximizing learning and development potential, according to education professionals. The arts open new doors to approaching the basic three R’s and teaches children skills that benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Our field trips to First Stage Children’s Theater provide our students this valuable exposure to the performing arts. The staff works diligently to relate these live performances to literature or experiences that the students have learned about and have developed lessons that relate back to the performance. Attending the theater also helps our students gain confidence with public speaking and team work exercises that are such an essential component of our school.
In the second year of our cycle we have an area of study entitled, “Human Body as a Machine.” A large part of this unit occurs when we take our students skiing at Sunburst Ski School, in Kewauskum, WI. Visiting on four occasions, everyone is taught how to ski by certified ski instructors. They begin with the basics and must pass all requirements before moving on to the next skill/task or hill. The children benefit from the teaching methods developed by the Sunburst Ski School to provide a quality experience for all skiers. Zone teaching allows students to learn at their own pace. Those who master beginning skills can quickly advance to the next level. Others can spend more time mastering specific skills until they are comfortable with their progress. At that time they can move to the next zone, resulting in safe, confident skiers.
Through their experience on the ski hill the students learn about their “bodies as machines.” They learn the muscle movements and joint actions that it takes to ski. They also focus on their airways and lungs and how their body helps bring oxygen to their muscles. The students monitor their hearts as it pumps the blood to the muscles to provide the needed oxygen. Learning to control their bodies, like stopping, falling, turning and even climbing bring the Laws of Physics into the equation. The children learn about speed (acceleration/deceleration/constant speed), force, power, friction, gravity, potential and kinetic energy. Back in the classrooms, they draw from their experiences on the hills, and the data that they gathered to elaborate and continue their learning. This field trip is truly an example: “Show me, I forget. Teach me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.”
As an instrumentality charter school, our autonomy from our district’s curriculum affords us the freedom to have experiences such as this field trip to Sunburst. Not only is this experience unique to our school and curriculum, it’s an example for others to follow.
Two years ago there was a Congressional bill entitled NCLI (No Child Left Inside). Our fourth and fifth graders were able to write letters that supported this bill and directly spoke to their experiences at Sunburst to show the value of environmental education. They came back from this field trip and wrote narrative and expository pieces about their favorite moments on the ski hill. The students used 6-Trait strands, as taught in class, to complete these specific writing assignments; once again making the connection between what is taught in the classroom to their experience at Sunburst. The children also related their experiences on the ski hills to their understanding of the “human body as a machine.” In addition to the ski trip, the students experienced several physics-based labs. They analyzed mass and friction, calculated average speed, constructed data, and experiment with variables. This curriculum will be replicated in each “Year 2” cycle.
This is truly an example of project-based learning where a teacher-facilitated project transforms teaching from “teacher telling” to “students doing”, in engaging experiences that involve students in complex, real-world projects through which they develop and apply skills and knowledge.
Most recently, members of Marquette University came to our school to learn more about our plan for the outdoor classroom. They volunteered to take the water samples that our students collected and ran them through tests at their water quality lab.
This is just one example of how our collaboration has allowed Wauwatosa STEM the ability to plan innovative learning activities that extend our classroom experiences into the real world.
The Museum is home to more than 125 years of research, collections, exhibits and educational resources, but these are anything but limited to the physical constructs of the building. Through interactive videoconferencing, a resource-laden website and well-trained professional education staff, the Museum can also come right to the classroom. It offers one of the most exciting field trip destinations in the region, plus a plethora of great resources that will enrich both teachers’ and students’ learning experiences, whether at the Museum or in the comfort of the classroom.
The MPM education experience can last far beyond a visit with the students of WSTEM. The museum has many resources that can supplement our experience both before and after our visit, and help foster a deeper engagement for our students.
We are currently in the process of partnering with the Museum to plan activities and learning experiences related to our study of butterflies and insects. Our partnership with them will build upon our learning experiences with the Milwaukee County Zoo.
The expertise of the scientists, engineers, and education specialists of the Milwaukee Public Museum will allow our students to investigate and inquire about the world around them through field work, a variety of resources and distance learning opportunities. Our developing partnership with the Museum shows that we live our engineering process of ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve upon the learning experiences that we provide for our students.
We are pleased to announce our recent partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Their outreach program has been a great addition to our school. Members of the MCW meet several times per year with our teaching staff to plan activities that relate to what our students are learning.
These field trips are in-house, meaning that the MCW bring their resources into our classrooms to provide wonderful, unique learning experiences that our students both benefit from and enjoy.
The most recent presentations from the Medical College of Wisconsin were on food allergies/digestion and a lab experience involving force and motion.
1060 N. Glenview Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Find us on Google Maps
Wauwatosa STEM, instrumentality charter school of the Wauwatosa School District.
You can use this secure PayPal link to instantly submit your annual technology contribution, donate to Project W.I.L.D. or contribute to the school in any way you choose. Please indicate how your funds should be earmarked below. PayPal will send you a receipt via email that can be used for tax purposes.