Dubray students experience e-missions
By: Amy Armour
Students at Dubray Middle School will travel through space and down the Amazon River this year — through e-missions.
Dubray Middle School was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Boeing Employees Community Fund that will be used for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum project this year.
Chris Donaldson, a teacher who worked on the grant, said the project would integrate rich curriculum with instructional technology utilizing iPads.
As part of the curriculum, all sixth-grade students at Dubray will visit the local Challenger Learning Center in Florissant to participate in a team-based mission simulation and a discovery workshop with rockets.
Students also will participate in an e-mission experience through distance learning from the Challenger Learning Center in West Virginia.
“We worked closely with the West Virginia (Challenger Learning Center) to make sure it was STEM-related and aligned with our state standards,” said Donna Marx, gifted teacher who worked on the grant.
Sixth-graders will participate in an e-mission called “Target Moon” where a comet is targeting a lunar settlement. Students will be split into four teams to solve different problems, like when and where the comet will hit or who will need to be evacuated. Students will interact with an “astronaut” from the learning center guiding them along the way.
“It is real-world, real-time learning with the students,” Marx said. “This is going to be far and above anything I’ve ever done.”
The grant covered the purchase of a wireless mobile lab, which includes 13 iPads, a webcam and software for video conferencing, in addition to five e-missions. An additional three e-missions were given to the school for free. Five of the e-missions will be used for sixth-grade classes, one will be used for the gifted and talented program and one each will be used for seventh and eighth grade.
Students in the gifted and talented class will become Cyber-Surgeons, traveling down the Amazon River to diagnose patients. Students will determine possible treatments and look for possible clinical trends. A “chief medical officer” will interact with students throughout the 40- to 70-minute e-mission.
“It’s one of the most authentic learning experiences I’ve been exposed to as a teacher. We are very excited,” Marx said.
The grant will focus on the 300 sixth-grade students at Dubray this year, but Marx hopes to expand the program in the future when the school applies for the grant again.
“We think this is going to be a rich and powerful learning experience,” said Patrick Brown, eighth-grade science teacher who also worked on the grant.
The mobile lab with iPads will also be available to teachers during the year.
“The (mobile lab) will have a tremendous impact on the faculty. A lot of the teachers have already been talking about how to use the iPads for different (learning experiences),” Brown said.
Jackie Floyd, assistant superintendent of curriculum, said Brown, Marx and Donaldson spent many hours and weekends applying for the grant.
“I am very proud of them for their dedication,” Floyd said.