Under Mr. Shawn Harahush's tutelage, Gulf Stream
School students in the fifth through eighth grades achieve
a lot, including:
• Building bridges and hydraulic arms.
Gulf Stream School, South Florida
The efforts of the school, teachers, students, and
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parents in surrounding the young roboticists with both
book learning and building skills are paying off in great
grades and advanced preparation for higher learning. Mr.
Harahush’s own enthusiasm mirrors that of his students as
he discusses their accomplishments:
“Because each group was at a different phase of
construction and programming, every day brought
excitement to the classroom. When one group advanced
and the others saw the robot completing its tasks, it gave
them new ideas and spurred them on creatively. From the
beginning, students were enthused having seen some final
products in action on the YouTube and LEGO sites. As
every piece and section clicked into place, anticipation
grew as they approached their goals.”
By combining the four disciplines in STEM, the school
engaged the students in a multi-disciplinary array of topics
that gave them a glimpse into what a profession in
robotics or engineering would involve. By concentrating on
confidence building rather than grades (no grades are
given in this particular program), the faculty helped the
students acquire real world tools for overcoming potential
future challenges — whether academic or technical.
The program gave the students increased estimation
skills, a strong grasp of concepts, and the beginnings of a
math-based prowess in perceptions of time, distances, and
STEM — the Root of the Solution
This STEM program was a joint venture between the
math and science departments at the Gulf Stream School.
The idea was to integrate what they each taught in their
own prospective disciplines into something that was more
than the sum of its parts, and more than what the
existing curriculum could handle.
By developing a cross-curricular course offering
students a chance to undertake activities that are
challenging, relevant, and pertinent to the present
world, the faculty gave the students the opportunity to
problem-solve both independently and as part of a team.
These technical activities made the students better team
members and problem solvers, endowing them with
skills they will use in their future academic and professional
“The program made them more aware of the
connections between math, science, and the world around
them. Hopefully, it inspired them to pursue a technical,
engineering-based vocation,” Mr. Harahush concluded.
A recent group of Gulf Stream students showcased
their robots for an audience of teachers, parents, and
student peers. With the program and course work a
complete success, the school hopes to expand on it for
future sessions. SV