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Science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics were infused into English language arts lessons at Wantagh Elementary School. Fifth-grade students in Traci Weiss’ class participated in a STEAM activity related to R.J. Palacio’s “Wonder” and a reading buddy activity with Patty Magaloff’s kindergarten students. 

After reading “Wonder,” the students discussed the chapter in which character Jack Will, who eventually became the main character Auggie’s best friend, found and fixed up a broken sled. Connecting literature with a lesson on mass, the students then designed and engineered their own sleds, using pennies and weights, to determine how far their vehicles would travel. They learned that a sled with more mass typically travels farther.

The fifth-graders and kindergarten students also went for a nature walk and collected a variety of leaves for a collaborative ELA activity related to Lois Ehlert’s “Leaf Man.” The students collaborated on an art project in which the kindergarteners created their own version of a Leaf Man, while the fifth-graders created a mystery creature using leaves.

The kindergarten students will determine during a future meeting what the older students created out of their leaves. Ms. Weiss noted that the activity was a great modeling experience for the fifth-graders, who experienced working with younger children.