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STEAM Update

February 2, 2022 | Ms. Jonker

When they come home today, fourth and fifth graders will be able to tell you about their plan for their scientific models. We are approaching the model-building phase of our flight and rocketry unit and the students are eager to put on their engineering caps to make models of gliders, blimps, space shuttles, and more.

A tool made to help explain the forces of flight

Planning a model

These models are not replicas. While some of them may look like a miniature of the actual aircraft, the goal is for students to model the science behind how their topic flies. Students are thinking outside of the box for this, with a mind towards how they can use the model they make to teach about their topic in their final presentations next week Friday.

Last week, our guest speaker Zoe (a Mustard Seed alumnus and engineer at Northrop Grumman) showed us examples of models, including a lego replica and a scientific model of a rocket. Zoe modeled the science of a rocket launch using a balloon. 

Zoe’s visit


This week, students in the fourth grade tried that same scientific model in the classroom.

One student said, “I noticed that when we hung it from the doorway, it went up. I think it didn’t work as well when we hung it from the table because it would hit the surface of the table and go back down.” Another noticed that “when the balloon started with less air in it, it went more slowly.” We rejoiced in the hallway when we got our rocket model to launch!

The flight and rocketry project has allowed many opportunities for the students to practice teaching the science behind flight. Students have given short presentations about vocabulary to one another, and many of them were able to join Parent-Student evening, where they had a chance to explain what they’re learning to their family members and other guests. Students practiced for Parent-Student evening last week in school to build confidence. It can feel like a lot of pressure, but the more the students practice explaining what they know, the more confident they will become over time.

Students practicing for Parent-Student Evening

Another big thank-you to all who joined us for PSE last week!

What’s ahead?

The next STEAM unit will be a civics unit. Students will learn about representative democracy, voting and voting rights, and the importance of civic engagement. We will be using many resources from Learning for Justice. Students will engage a community issue in partnerships by writing a proposal and raising awareness about that proposal through art and video making. The big question of the project is “How can we be changemakers in our community through civic engagement?”

Kat Jonker

Teacher, Grades 4

Kat Jonker is energized by how passionately Mustard Seed School nurtures each student to blossom into the person God has made them to be. She’s honored to teach and learn beside the fourth and fifth grade students here.

Ms. Jonker’s always been surrounded and inspired by dedicated teachers--including her mother! When she began teaching private violin lessons as a high school student, Ms. Jonker began to think about teaching as a career. Soon she realized her passion for teaching and learning as an Elementary Education with an integrated science major at Calvin College. There she flourished as an assistant teacher at Calvin’s middle school chemistry camp. She also led elementary nature programs at Calvin’s ecosystem preserve.

Music remains one of Ms. Jonkers passions and you’ll sometimes get to hear her playing in worship. She’s an avid violin player and spent a disproportionately large amount of her college life in string quartet rehearsals. She listens to music constantly and likes to keep it eclectic, so if you have any music recommendations, send them her way.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Ms. Jonker’s home town. Through God-gifted communities of faith there, she found her roots in grace and a life of service.

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