Featured Class: Mrs. Youker's Third Grade

Mrs. Youker is excited about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). She attended the EXSEED Conference in Loma Linda, CA last year and brought home a lot of new, exciting ideas she was excited to try out! 

Always one to be on the cutting edge of education research, one of the first things she did was add stability balls to her classroom instead of chairs. Research has shown that kids need to be able to move while they learn, and she wanted them to be able to have that flexibility as needed. The kids enjoy the ability to move during class, and one parent observed that even though everyone in the classroom seemed to be moving, they were all quietly focused on their work. 

My child thinks ‘science’ so intuitively this year as a direct result of Mrs. Youker’s focus on the thought processes involved such as ‘asking questions, experimenting, trying new things’. By the 3rd week of school, my child was seeing ‘science’ in everyday activities and I loved it.
— Third Grade Parent

The other STEAM emphasis Mrs. Youker is doing this year is adding as many science experiments to her curriculum as possible. The class science textbook has many fun experiments to do to complement the materials they are learning. The class has enjoyed looking through dirt, testing the hardness of rocks, and running around the school's track to learn about acceleration, just to name a few. 

One Friday a month all 3rd grade students get an extra science experiment. When they do this experiment each month, they talk about the Scientific Method and use it to guide their learning. 

Mrs. Youker's class has had a lot of other fun learning experiences this year too. At Christmas they took part in a play with other 3rd and 4th graders called "Star of Wonder", which showed how Jesus came to this Earth to be born for us. They have also taken exciting field trips to the state capitol and OMSI. The class has learned about their communities and the 3 branches of government. They are learning cursive and handwriting. And, most importantly, they are studying about the Bible and Jesus' life on Earth. 


As a parent, I very much appreciate the moments when Mrs. Youker connects with my child to model solid Christian values of respect, kindness and integrity. During a video presentation she’s not hesitant to call out moments that conflict with the greater values she wants the kids to internalize. For example, on one occasion she stopped a video and was explicit with the class to say ‘This is a way of speaking to each other that I will not have in this classroom.’

I appreciate her commitment to learning new technologies and implementing them within the classroom such as the stability balls. The stability balls are AWESOME! She’s also expanded the Bible and Math curriculum. She embraces parental involvement without sacrificing the strong role of the teacher. That’s difficult and she does it with creativity, grace, fairness and strength. I highly value that skillset and the value I know it provides my child.
— Third Grade Parent

Mrs. Youker is working hard to prepare her students well not only for 4th grade, but for college and beyond. She is guiding them through this school year with an eye to each student's future, and her students have benefitted greatly from her guidance. 

STEAMing Ahead!

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During the last week of June, twelve TVA teachers and three of our pastors traveled to Loma Linda University to participate in an EXSEED conference. EXSEED (Excellence in STEM Experiential Education) "is an innovative and collaborative program designed to enhance integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in Adventist K-12 schools."

We spent the week in classes and workshops led by experts in science, technology and mathematics. Topics included Human Anatomy, 3D Printing, "Wacky Science", Advances in Cancer Research, Geology and Enrichment Topics for Mathematics. Visits to a medical simulation lab and a workshop with live venomous snakes kept the excitement high! We also completed assignments in groups of 3 or 4 that included recording video and editing it with sound and titles into a short 3 minute film that was shared with the whole group.

Our TVA teachers are excited about increasing our use of STEM activities in our classrooms. We already do many projects that are STEM in nature. From making catapults in Preschool to our Working Models class in grades 7&8 we already have many STEM components being taught. 

Our teachers want to include Art in their projects, which turns STEM into STEAM! This was a key part of one of the projects done in grades 5&6 last year where each student studied an animal and created a clay representation of it as part of their presentation.

Our ninth grade students will experience a problem based learning class this next year that will immerse them in the application of STEAM learning. We are excited about the future of increased STEAM learning at TVA and are committed to making it an important part of our curriculum.