The Rashi School third grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fair was held on March 3 at the Dedham Town Hall. The project, which revolved around a question about movement, provided students with an opportunity to showcase their learning in a real-world environment.

The class first reviewed the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 to “make cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.” The students were then tasked with creating accessible, sustainable designs for a public space. Their “case study” was a lot in Dedham Square that will be renovated into a new park. The project was spearheaded by Rashi third grade teachers Kate Armstrong, Jessica Solomon and Jean Ricker.

Since November 2021, Grade 3 has been looking at movement and accessibility. Tying this new unit into their previous one on forces and simple machinery, they began by exploring Dedham for real-life examples. This was the beginning of Dedham’s partnership with The Rashi School. Representatives from the town met with the students, sharing the park plans and presenting about accessibility in Dedham.

“The STEM project is a perfect example of the strong academic curriculum at The Rashi School,” stated Ilyssa Greene Frey, director of admissions at The Rashi School. “This is the first time Rashi has partnered with Dedham for the STEM fair. We hope to continue the partnership as well as expand it in the coming years.”

Prior to the fair, the students broke up into groups for Zoom meetings with “clients” who had a variety of disabilities. Each group chose a client and section of the park as their designated space. They redesigned their sections, testing one key variable in each group in an effort to make it as accessible as possible for their client’s needs. Their final presentation took place at the fair.

Many Rashi staff members and parents were on hand for the presentation, along with Dedham officials, residents and community leaders. It was an exciting day for the students. As Frey concluded, “The students were thrilled to take part in such an important and hands-on project. We are grateful to the Town of Dedham for this amazing opportunity.”

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