A Community STREAM Event in Oak Knoll’s Lower School

On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, Oak Knoll’s Lower School proudly hosted its inaugural school-wide STREAM Community Day, opening up a dynamic world of interdisciplinary, project-based learning for our students. This insightful day was dedicated to seamlessly blending Science, Technology, Reading, Arts, and Mathematics, providing our young learners with engaging, hands-on experience. 

Biweekly, Oak Knoll’s Lower School students have the unique opportunity to unite as an entire school for shared activities or for individual homerooms to engage in collaborative projects. This session fosters a sense of community and collaboration among students and staff. 

For this inaugural event, students in all grade levels were introduced to the true story of Wangari Maathai, an African environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. During their time in the IDEAS lab (our makerspace), Kimberly Connolly, Associate Director of Technology Innovation & Integration and Lower School Technology Teacher, introduced them to the book “Wangari’s Trees of Peace,” which tells of Maathai’s return to Kenya after studying environmental science in the United States to discover the devastation of forests there due to development.

“She stands up for justice and peace and says to her country, lets not let this happen,” explained Connolly. “For her, trees symbolize peace, and she starts planting seedlings and empowers other women to follow suit. They start a greenbelt movement that returns an umbrella of green to the land. Her work is a fine example of (Holy Child founder) Cornelia Connelly’s motto, Actions, Not Words.”

Her story and work embody Oak Knoll values and illustrate the convergence of STREAM disciplines. As a fun project to cap off this school-wide deep dive, homeroom teachers tasked each student with constructing the most creative or tallest peace tree they could engineer.

Over 200 colorful peace trees now adorn every classroom in the Lower School.

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