Veteran’s Valentines

MVES fifth grade is taking action to honor a California veteran looking for a nation-wide hug on Valentine’s Day. Students are honoring the veteran and his request to receive Valentines by writing heartfelt notes of appreciation for his service and dedication and in tribute to his long military career, Purple Heart medal, and sacrifices. Seen here on @MDJonline

Read the MVES press release here: Press Release MVES Student Veteran ValenKinds

Watch Major Bill White’s story here.


















Kids Heart Challenge – Jump Rope for Heart

MVES has officially started the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge (formerly Jump Rope for Heart). Help your child sign up at or search “Kids Heart Challenge” in your app store to download the app and register. Your child will earn a wristband just for registering online, AND you can help our class win the Classroom Challenge! The class per grade level with the MOST students registered online will win their teacher an Amazon gift card. Help your class – and our school – win by registering today!  Don’t just sit…..GET FIT!

Love this to the moon & back!

Astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth from a space station, having been the longest serving female astronaut in space (so far): 328 days. Students learned about her important mission, watched her return to Earth, and heard Christina describe the things she learned, why it’s important, and how they can apply those lessons in their own lives.

Great connections to our STEM lab, our learning, and the ways in which being interested in the world pays big dividends, even in 3rd through 5th grade.

Coyote & Badger

Students learned about symbiotic relationships, and animals that decide to collaborate is to succeed. Much like getting along with peers in class. We watched the interesting pairing of coyote and badger, caught on camera palling around on the night-time hunt.

Students are thinking about the ways in which the lessons we learn from wild animals apply to humans, how being flexible can make the difference in life and in friendships, and how creativity applies to everyone and everything – including animals.

Kinders Close-Up With Worms

Kindergarten students are exploring the natural world by using their senses to observe, experience, and record the world around them.

They are also using scientific tools to examine earthworms and compare them to gummy worms. They are having a blast – and being super gentle – thoroughly handling live animals in the STEM lab.

It’s been a fabulous time seeing living things close-up, and growing as scientists every day! Thank you to all instructional aides that support Kindergarteners learning in a hands-on manner. Your dedication, endless enthusiasm and patience are appreciated beyond measure.

Time For Your Close-Up: Microscopes 101

Students are thrilled to be using our excellent microscopes to examine – very closely! – the world around them. It’s been a superb learning experience for all.

We’re making our own slides, exploring the world around us, and learning about plant and animal cells (5th grade).

It’s been a blast! For a close-up of our friend here, Ms/Mr Maggot – please watch this video: 20 Things You Don’t Want to See Under a Microscope 😉

The Sun Like You’ve Never Seen It!

We’re exploring new technology being used in the world as we unpack learning about scopes – to magnify and minimize. The latest – and very exciting – new telescope being used to see the sun’s surface closer than we’ve ever done before is up and running on a high peak in Hawaii.

This is one of the best images we have of the sun – recently released by folks expert in space.

The students are looking at the sun in this way for the first time ever, and they are loving how it connects to their lives and how much it puts our planet into perspective.

Vote for Rover!

Voting is underway for the latest Mars Rovercast your ballot like students in STEM!

Full link:


These are the possibilities (see left).



ZOOBS! Let’s Engineer!

Students are using the fantastical ZOOBS BuilderZ kits and they are loving the creative freedom & possibilities!

Check out our work on @jenniferagates on Twitter 🙂

Scopes & Plant Light in Space

As we use microscopes to better understand the world around us, intermediate grades are seeing the importance of creativity, innovation, and flexibility in their STEM work. Read more here about seeing photosynthesis from space.

For example, did you know that plants emit light we can’t see but we can track it from space? Watch this and learn more.

Type to Learn: Free resource!


Parents – please use this free keyboarding practice resource at home. It will really help improve your child’s ability to keyboard quickly and efficiently – and in advance of conquering the Milestones!

A-Mazing STEM Challenges!

We are making beautiful and creative things in STEM: marble mazes. Creativity helps to open the mind up to new ways of problem-solving, and to challenge the status quo regarding high level thinking.

Dr. Seuss says “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells.” #truth

We are pushing the boundaries of how to best engage others, use our creativity and innovation skills, and to design games using simple, hand-based tools, that help us bring joy, complexity, and challenge to the world and ourselves.

We’ve explored great puzzles – like this one using simple and recycled items – in order to get the creativity juices flowing. Students are excelling and Kinders are especially great at making these puzzles come to life.

Students each take home their own marble and maze kit. They receive a safety lesson on marble storage and use – don’t put it anywhere unsafe – and how to use liquid glue and a clear tape dispenser as part of their STEM table kits.

Compassion Campaign & Book Drive

Thank you video – enjoy! Thank you Clay ES for sending!

MVES Cares! What a success – our students donated more than 650 new books for the children of Clay Elementary School. That means that every Clay student took home a new book to read for the holidays, we stocked the ASP and preschool libraries, and we even helped to ensure every single classroom has extras in their book nooks. In other words, Well Done, Mountain View!

Press Release MVES Student Led Compassion Book Drive


























Welcome Back! Happy 2020!

I am excited to see all STEM superstars on Monday, January 6, 2020. Let’s welcome each other back to a new year and new decade with our mottos in full view: #BeNice #ShowCompassion #ExpressGratitude #BeKindBeKindBeKind

Grades 4 & 5: Girls in STEM

Details here! 2020 IAG Marketing Flyer

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is Saturday, February 8, 2020 

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is February 8, 2020, at Kennesaw State University’s Marietta Campus. The cost to attend is $5.00. Please share this important and exciting opportunity with any young girls in grades 4-8. It’s a perfect way to learn about future careers in engineering. More information here:

Elf Shelf: STEM Challenge

Students of all ages are curious about the elves in the building – can they work their magic without having their own observation shelf? How tall does it have to be to keep the elves from human view but still give them the ability to watch and note-take about students’ “nice list” behavior? How can they plan holiday cheer and make mischief without a safe, sturdy perch from which to work?

These are the important questions we’re asking in STEM, as students work together to build the tallest, most sturdy elf shelf in a one-class challenge. The results may amaze and impress you – we’re on Twitter @jenniferagates @mtnviewes Please see the evidence of high level learning for yourself – and take note of some of the world’s smartest problem solvers. You’ll see a lot of them in the future as leaders!

Build-a-Toy Workshop: STEM Challenge

Our time considering the ways we can best use the EDP – the Engineering Design Process – and a handful of supplies, without any extra budget and under time constraints, and with a team of peers – Whew! we are working super hard in the lab these days.

Students are crafting a new toy out of random, found, and paper supplies. They work in groups of up to 5, and within 1 class period, to imagine, design, build, test, and improve, their toy. Then, they present their creation to their peers.

Some amazingly innovative and creative items are being produced in 503! Among them, toy jets, volcano adventure sets, dolls, teddy bears, musical instruments from guitars and drums to triangles and pianos, and even microphones for vocal performance, and doll houses, Mars rover exploration kits, treasure boxes, hat sets, cards, IDs with lanyards, and even jewelry. See – I wasn’t joking! These students are Ah-MAZING!!!


MVES Dec Book Drive 2019


Thank you, everyone, for your donations to the December service-learning campaign ongoing at Mountain View! We are so grateful for your help to support Cobb Schools’ children in need. There’s one week left to raise 400 books! We need 500 in all. We are counting on you to make our drive a success. Send in any new book for donation with your child. ALL NEW BOOKS ARE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED.

If you’re looking for great sales, $1.00 bins, and other ways to save money while still donating to the schoolwide holiday book drive, try the Scholastic Warehouse Sale. It start TOMORROW, and runs from Wednesday, December 4 – 14, at the Scholastic Book Fair Warehouse, 3600 Cobb International Blvd. NW, Suite 100, Kennesaw, GA 30152. A sign-up is needed so check the website for specifics about entrance.

Target, Dollar Tree, Walmart, Half Price Books, and many other local retailers, have super sales on books right now, and even have their own $1.00 bins. We need books for kids from ages 5 to 12 – especially kids in grades PreK-2.

Starting tomorrow, in Kennesaw, you can purchase literally thousands of new books at greatly discounted prices. But all it takes is 1. One new book for a child in need at Clay Elementary will mean they’ll have something exciting, interesting, and rewarding to read over the winter break. One person to donate and help a child in our community. One good deed that helps to pay it forward and live up to our mottos: #BeNice #ShowCompassion #ExpressGratitude.

It just takes one person to model for our students what kindness looks like. And that one person is YOU!

The Book Drive ends on Wednesday, December 11 at 2:30 PM. Everyone in our community is invited to enjoy the gift of giving that changes lives.

Parents, and community partners, heartfelt thanks for all that you do for Mountain View – especially to share the importance of literacy and compassion!

Thirty Circles Challenge

Students in grades 3-5 are engaged in maximizing their creativity using the 30 Circles Challenge as a STEM warm-up. Students know the challenge is beneficial, particularly in STEM, as it helps them, “Really come up with creative ideas,” “Help to get the creativity juices flowing so we can be even better STEM students,” “Use time well and appreciate how the minutes count,” “Compare our thinking to others’ so we can see how we’re doing, and what people are thinking,” “Get great ideas for doing stuff, including for making our designs and inventions.” 

Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better! Mountain View students are the best and most creative! #LoveToSTEMHere #EveryStudentEveryDay

If you’d like to try the Challenge with your child, here’s the template we’re using: 30 Circles Challenge Template


Engineering month continues with ‘tinkering’ with building in STEM. The students are putting creativity to great use by building mobile and movement-oriented tools, toys, and inventions. 

From cars to cannon-launchers, students are doing a superb job of working together, being innovative, and using the tools well and in new ways. Students are using the Engineering Design Process (EDP) to show all they can do and create. It’s a fun time! BTW, some students want to know where to buy these items, historically called Tinker Toys. Now, they are Fiddlestix and readily available online at retailers such as Amazon and even Walmart.

Tie-dyed milk! 

We’re working on surface tension experiments to explore what that means, how dairy milk and other liquids interact, and how dye and other ingredients impact reactions. Note: students should wear dark colors, or a shirt that they don’t like, and at the least, roll up their sleeves while experimenting. If they aprons or lab coats, they can definitely bring them. Accidents do occur, and food coloring/dye is generally permanently stained on garments.

Young students will explore the magic of surface tension. Older students will plan their own experiment, use three types of liquid, and record the results on an organizer of their own design. We will use the scientific method and follow it in order to encourage questions, and higher order thinking and learning. In other words, they’re going to have a fabulous time being student scientists!


STEM needs technological tools – PLEASE HELP FUNDRAISE!

This year’s Boosterthon by MindSpark is a Wild West Fun Run. It kicks off Monday, November 11!  Support our school by pledging toward the number of laps or fitness challenges students will complete on the day of the Fun Run: Wednesday, November 20th. 

Our Fun Run will be powered by Booster, a fun organization that organizes these events all over the country. This year 3,500 schools like ours will run their Fun Run through Booster. We’re excited for their expertise to make this EASY on everyone involved—including you!

This year’s theme is MINDSPARK: WILD WEST, combining S.T.E.A.M. skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) with character-building. While your students team up with the MindSpark Kids to save Dr. Shock, they will learn five character traits that will help strengthen themselves and our world.

Through this year’s Fun Run, our school goal is to raise $30,000 for new Classroom Laptops, iPads and Charging Carts. STEM has no technology – WE NEED iPADS & LAPTOPS!!!!! Help us bring our STEM lab into the 21st century!!!

Action Steps:

  1. Check FUNRUN.COM, daily!!
  2. Communicate with your child & if interested, your child’s teacher, even me!
  3. Please pledge!

More info needed? email

You’re GOURD-geous!

Fall means gourds and all things Cucurbitaceae – the Latin family name for pumpkins, squash and gourds. We are exploring the ways in which gourds make it to our shelves, tables, and stores and spending a day in the life of a gourd, after learning about its labor-intensive life cycle. Ugly things have value – students are looking past the obvious to see the potential and the beauty. A lesson for life and for us all.

Also, we are using 2 new tools in STEM as engineers: straw connectors and building block case sets. The potential is endless as are the opportunities to work well by yourself or with friends. Practicing partnerships, collaboration, cooperation, respect and generally being a decent human being occurs every class in STEM. We rock 1 rule: RESPECT-self, others, stuff. We say our “I Can!” commitments every class, and we remind ourselves of our expectations for behavior and instruction. Students know they set their own pace, goals, and decide how best to use their instruction time. Behavior is under their control.

Using gourds as our introduction gets kids interested, but knowing they have choices and control over what they do, how they act, and with whom they work makes a big difference in their confidence and engagement levels. Student choice = student voice. Let’s hear you!

Science Fair!

Congratulations to every participant, and the winners, of this year’s Mountain View Elementary Science Fair!

Watch the story here! In all, we had 22 entries, with 29 students. There were several pairs of participants and a couple of trios – which was wonderful seeing students collaborate and work very well together. Several of those well-practiced and mannered student groups placed first, which shows you the power of teamwork and cooperation. #BeNice #ShowCompassion #ExpressGratitude

In the photo, you see 1st through 3rd place winners of our fair. The 1st place winner(s) from each grade level go on to compete at the district fair in February. Congratulations to them! Well done!

Thank you, also, to our judges, and our community partners, for helping us with the fair. I know the judges had a very hard time selecting winners – the entries were all just that good. Cobb EdTV is also doing a story on us, and we thank Nan and Bill, and the Communications team for their support.

Next year’s fair planning is underway. What question will you try to answer to help solve a real problem?

Dancing Raisins

Grades 3-5: C-E-R. Ask your student if they remember the importance of the acronym and its use in STEM today. Our focus was on chemical reactions in science, and exploring the ways in which both teamwork and scientific methodology work together to support learning. BTW – It’s an acronym for Claim(s) – Evidence – Reasoning. They’ll use it a lot across the rest of the year. It will be an addition to our other acronym in use: E-D-P (Engineering Design Process).

Dancing Fruits & Vegetables – the video we used in our opening in class 🙂

Here’s a way to make fruit, including raisins dance, without baking soda. This video clearly explains how and why the raisins dance.


Another one of the most interesting – and feared! – October animals is the wolf. This week, students take a closer look at wolves and their incredible powers. From speed, to their family-oriented care-taking of their young, to hunting, and even their intelligence in pack behavior, wolves are magnificent and often misunderstood.

Students select the wolf super power(s) they wish to use in a new invention of their own imagining, and design it using the EDP – the Engineering Design Process. This week, students of all ages go from working in self-selected teams to random assignment and must collaborate on a single ideal and/or invention at their workshop tables using wolf powers. They’re practicing from K-5th how to best collaborate and cooperate to share their thinking and get their ideas across.

From planning to creation, students will better understand how to use creative ideas and an animal’s natural talent to unpack mysteries and solve global problems.

So, this month, we’ve explored Spiders, Bats, Wolves, Owls, and Gourds. Lots of fall-based STEM learning as we expand the ways in which October animals help us to become better STEM students!


Happy Conference Week!

Email me or drop by the STEM lab (503-Garden Level) if you want to chat or say hello! I’d love to meet you and catch up on your student’s contributions in STEM. Stay smart after school lets out & keep building & inventing 🙂


It’s time to bust more myths about animals in October – ones thought to be scary but are actually SUPER! That means we’re going from spiders to BATS.

From echolocation, to hibernation, to working upside down, to devouring insects, bats are AMAZING creatures. So – from the spider’s web to the bat cave, we go! Follow them across Mexico or see them in the largest colony in the US.

Students will use a STEM challenge this week to use BAT SUPER POWERS in a new way to help the world around us. They’ll work with only a handful of items – coffee filter, examination (popsicle) sticks, wax paper, and the items in the lab, to make a prototype of their bat-inspired invention. Random groupings invite students to work with new friends during the workshop time.

I wonder which animal we’ll use to bust myths next week?! These powers are AWESOME and help us as thinkers, creative people, innovators, inventors and engineers, to come up with new ways to help humans and make a difference in the world.

For at-home crafters, here’s a bat printable that kids can make fly easily with a bit of tape and scissors. Download and go! EKP_vampire_bat_puppet

When opportunity knocks, you answer!

How wonderful that Ms. Norris (2nd grade) came to me to catch a spider in the hallway… leading to a real life example for our lessons! (This is why Mountain View is the best school in the world!)

This little guy was the hit of the day as he helped us see first hand how a local #TeamMVES Wolf Spider enjoys running, hopping, and exploring in its territory. Released after a couple of hours, the spider was a perfect way to showcase our great community and culture as well as the live examples of nature that are literally right in our backyard!

We’ve begun busting October (STEM) myths.


First up: SPIDERS. Thought to be ‘creepy crawlers’ during this month of haunting for many, they are actually nature’s first and best engineers. For instance, did you know that a spider can build its home – a complex web – in less than an hour? No human can do that. Complete with often complex and layered designs, and factoring in considerations such as angle, weight, location, supplies, traffic patterns and potential issues with destruction, spiders get it all done in less time than students often get done their homework. Cool, huh?!

Students are using spider “super powers” (their silk-spinning, web-making, quick running, high climbing and flying, upside-down hanging, multi-eyed and legged abilities, as well as their ‘hearing hair’) to invent new ways of helping people and/or solving problems.

Using the spider’s many skills, talents, and abilities, students are considering the “How?” of spiderdom, and then applying the “Why?” we learned from the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Spiders are incredible creatures – so we learn the truths and bust the myths – then get to work designing prototypes for our ideas and inventions. Students have come up with everything from the spider surgeon to the safety spider and the “Super Spider 1000”, an aide to helpless people and pets everywhere.

See the world’s biggest spider here.

Presentations are casual this quarter, allowing all students to opt in and volunteer to share their prototype design, their template drawing and thinking map for the idea/invention, and their creative use of fuzzy sticks (chenille sticks, formerly called pipe cleaners by Boomers) in order to fasten a spider-like creature and pump the well of high level thinking (while giving energetic young hands something to work with while their options are considered for engineering and design). So, be brave like our students: Don’t Be Afraid of Spiders! 

For the full photo album, visit my Twitter page. 

There are also cool videos here: Spider webs galore and How Spiders Fly.

Office 365: A handy guide

Parents, this is a super simple guide to using Office 365 – especially now that our excellent Reading Challenge is on!

Click here to learn more about how 365 can be used at home and by all CCSD parents & students.

Also, don’t forget to join our Reading Challenge – it’s fun, easy, & important for your child’s growth and development in reading.

Google Doodles are so neat!

This one celebrates an important person that loved and studied plants: Ines Mexia.

Read – and see – all about her here. 

Science can be fun and can also be artistic. Always explore and practice things you love, especially drawing. Remember how we talk about drawing and doodling and making pictures or images ALWAYS making you smarter than if you write just words.

Fernbank Museum has a new – super hot! – movie opening soon. Check out this alignment to 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade science standards, as well as just a really neat movie to watch and learn from about VOLCANOES! See the video here. 

Volcanoes 3D would make an excellent family or class field trip. Plus, see dinosaurs, walk the green grounds & enjoy GA habitat displays.

Fernbank on Twitter, too: keep up to date on happenings.


Spiders: Amazing Creatures, Awesome Silk!

Spiders are incredible creatures. They help, they hunt, they spin, they amaze. Their webs are a thing of beauty, fascination, and importance. Read here all about spiders and the power of their silk.

Human engineers get a lot of ideas from spiders. Just see for yourself!

Animals can be very intelligent, show a sense of humor, and even use deception.

Did you know that an Orangutan can make an umbrella? A pig can prank others?

A fish can tell a stranger from a friend? It’s true. And that’s just what we know so far…

Maybe YOU can be the scientist that helps better understand animals!

Exploring the Engineering Design Process.

Over the next few weeks, students will be exploring and playing within the Engineering Design Process, or EDP. 

We’ll take the current engineering studies and hands on learning, and add in the EDP. We’ll be using graphic organizers, and enjoying the collaborative process. Using perseverance, and cooperation, from our first two lessons in the Voyage, students will be able to put teamwork to the test and see how well they can solve problems.

Happy Parade! Celebrating MVES

It was wonderful to join students, teachers, and staff at the East Cobber Parade.

Photos are posted on @jenniferagates on Twitter.

Spider Sheep, Spider Sheep…

Do what other sheep cannot do! 🙂 We learned that Spider Sheep AKA Cliff Fairies AKA Blue Sheep (China) can walk like no other sheep can.

They defy gravity! See for yourself here. 

Science Olympiad Needs YOU!

If you love science, enjoy supporting Mountain View, or have 4 – 8 hours a month you can spare as a volunteer/partner in education, MVES Science Olympiad needs you!

I am looking for support for 1) Event Coaching, 2) Clerical Support & 3) Snack Donations. If you can help, please email me by Friday, Sept. 27.

Students in grades 3-5 love the friendly competition and embedded science in the event. Try outs will occur later this month, practice begins in October, and the regional competition will be held Saturday, March 28, 2020, at Walton HS.

Super thankful to work for such a world class administrative team. Thank you, Dr. Garriss and team for the recognition in the recent Mountain View blog posting by Dr. Garriss.

“Jennifer Gates (STEM) and Debby Taylor (Computer Lab) have done a phenomenal job preparing our students with amazing STEM activities and engaging Technology lessons! “

I’m humbled and appreciative. I work hard to ensure students get a great STEM education and rise to and above the Mountain View expectations for excellence. Thank you, Dr. Garriss!

Engineering, Creativity & Teamwork: A Winning Combination!

As we unpack ideas about engineering – our E in STEM – we are exploring more deeply how best to establish and work within, as well as lead, a team. Students of all ages – PreK to 5th – are getting a lot of time and reflection opportunities to better understand the nature of working with others. This includes standards-based learning of communication (speaking, listening, presenting, etc.), science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as other aspects of life skills that are important to success such as spatial understanding, character building, and self-reflection and motivation. In other words, big things are happening, as always, in STEM.

Students are learning more about some of the most exciting and unusual – AKA creative – buildings in the world, some of which can be seen here, and some of which we know from our weekly lessens (anything Frank Lloyd Wright, global architectural attractions & sites, and famous STEM people). Having had time to get a feel for, and use, the tools, students are now working on specific design ideas as well as proof of concept builds with small teams and in collaborative partnerships.

We are using our Words of the Week and Voyage characteristics for self-development to cement our understanding and learning in STEM.

We are learning about Types of Engineers and how their roles might be of interest to young thinkers and learners, as they consider possibilities for future careers.

From aerospace to software engineers and everything in between, students are hearing and seeing ways in which engineering shapes and informs our daily lives.


Happy Labor Day!

Happy testing!

This is a short week.Let’s make the most of it!

Pumice Sea: Scientists are split on whether it will help save Great Coral Reef

In Science news – a scientists are mixed on whether the pumice sea will help save the Great Coral Reef, off of the coast of Australia, near VaVa’u. Read all about it here: Underwater Volcano Causes Sea of Pumice Scare. And see it for yourself by watching this video.

Here’s an argument for it not helping much, if at all, and why scientists think people still need still to play a bigger role in helping the Reef rather than waiting for something rare, like the pumice sea, to do it.

The pumice that came to the water’s surface temporarily removed the reflective nature of the water showing the sky. It alarmed a sailing boat that started moving through pumice pieces, some as large as basketballs as the volcano deep in the ocean erupted below the boat as it passed overtop.

Some scientists believe that the pumice “raft”, as large as Manhattan, will have healing qualities and help the Reef start to heal since global warming and climate change are making temperatures rise and are killing off the reef and all of its animals. The animals attach to the pumice and may help to regenerate growth in the Reef.

What we do know is that scientists work together, and need each other to solve problems. Disagreeing with someone is perfectly okay and makes for better results, as long as it’s done right. Be respectful, be kind, and listen first, then speak. We practice these skills every STEM class.

What does Ms. Gates remind students of weekly? That our biggest lesson in STEM and in life is learning how to get along with others. Sharing, collaborating, cooperating, and generally just working well with someone else (or even in a group) takes practice, is work, and is an important skill in every class and part of our lives. #workwelltogether #benice #bekind #showcompassion #expressgratitude

This article is especially important for 3rd graders (Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Soils, Weathering, Erosion).

MVES Science Fair!

Our annual MVES Science Fair (MVESF) is set for Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Set-up will occur the day prior, and the location will be the Cafeteria. Information about student participation is coming soon, visit this blog page for details.

Register your student here. Deadline is Friday, October 23, 2019 at 11:30 PM.

Six top-placing MVES scientists will move on to the Regional/District Fair: Saturday, February 8th, 2020, from 8:15 AM – 2:30 PM, at Smitha Middle School (2025 Powder Springs Rd SW, Marietta, GA 30064).

Bridges & Buildings

All grades: The next four weeks are dedicated to architecture, design, and construction. We are using engineering and design, communication, and collaboration skills at all levels. Students are using two sets of tools – craft stick connectors and tower building templates and cards.

In addition to the EDP – engineering design process – they are working in collaborative teams to build their best version of each: a bridge and a building. They are rotating stations by week, so each student has two weeks at each station. Both weeks’ lessons begin with an introduction to great architects and structures around the world: looking at some of the world’s most creative bridges and buildings (the Guggenheim, the Golden Gate, Sydney Opera House, London Bridge) and considering their functions.

Jumbo Craft Stick Connectors

Weeks 1 & 2 allow for totally original free builds using the tools to explore their possibilities and establish rapport with peers. Weeks 3 & 4 students use the design process to draw out a structure, consider the tools and design while collaborating with peers, and then erect their design, reflecting on whether their design ‘worked’ and whether their questions were relevant. The fun always occurs when students establish questions before, during and after their design.

Each student will work at each type of station twice, to allow for a richer, deeper engineering experience and to maximize our Voyage and teamwork lessons on respect, sharing, problem solving and cooperation.

Craft stick connectors are small pieces that allow for unique designs, such as buildings, bridges, barns, and other structures, put together using the connecting plastic parts. They are great ways for children to experience construction while using high level and creative thinking as well as fine motor skills.

Skyscraper Building Cards

Skyscraper building cards are specifically designed to maximize creativity and skill at the elementary level, and are pre-shaped into two types: flat and curved (for corners and height).

They are ideally suited for young learners, as they allow for all students and skill levels (PreK-5th) to engage in the design process and erect towers while considering the design and construction process. Students will build out as well as up and do so collaboratively, coming to agreement about the design and height.

Third grade: We are also examining rocks, minerals, gems and fossils at third grade as their study of the natural world continues in science.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019, is our first Early Release Day of the school year. Specials occur but for less time, 30 minutes (rather than 45), allowing for all 6 grade levels to enjoy the opportunity to share in expanded and enriched learning. The grade levels are reversed for the day to attend specials, so Intermediate students attend from 8:00 – 9:45 AM (5-3-4), and Primary attend from 10:25 AM – 12:05 PM (K-2). School dismisses at 12:10 PM.

The remaining afternoon time is dedicated to professional learning for teachers district-wide. Ms. Gates is in a Cobb Collaborative Community – a professional learning community or CCC/PLC – working with some of the best teachers around: those from East Cobb at school such as Davis, Bells Ferry, Kincaid, and many others.

Scientific Stations!

We’ll be using additional science tools to explore and observe living/non-living things and exploring the use of senses. We are building knowledge and best practices as we work toward full experiments and use of the scientific method in the lab.

If students have allergies beyond what I see in their official paperwork, please email me or send a note to their homeroom/classroom teacher to notify us of concerns and requests.

We will be doing the following & these items will be on display and in use in the lab throughout the week:

• Herbs (basic, dill, rosemary, thyme, mint);
• Flowers (assorted, store bought, as little pollen as possible);
• Green items found outdoors (brief, hands-on nature walks will occur on weather-appropriate days);
• Fruits and vegetables (varied, basic, seeded) for observation, exploration and tool use experimentation.

As always is the case in our lab, safety comes first. So, goggles will be on hand should students want to try them out during observations, disposable plastic gloves and ‘science (popsicle) sticks’ allow students to move items without direct touch, and the sink is well-stocked for hand washing, with sanitizer always nearby.

Students hear every week that scientists do not consume or taste their samples, etc., as good choices are always modeled and emphasized (and expected).

Our Engage is the butterfly invasion of the UK. We’ll be looking at the Painted Ladies as they make their way on long journeys and enjoy the once in a decade trip to the UK, where they rest, nest & sparkle.

Upcoming lessons: Allergy awareness

As we deepen our learning and investigate items close-up, in upcoming weeks in STEM will begin using hands-on materials. Let me know if there are any specific allergies beyond what’s available and known by the teacher and/or in students’ formal support plans.

Be aware that over the next six weeks (August through September), we will be using:
• Plants – a generic mix of herbs and flowers (farmer’s market-style)
• Seeds – a generic mix including sunflower, tree, and fruit/veg (zucchini, cucumber, avocado, etc.)
• Raisins
• Vinegar
• Baking Soda

“Let’s take a look!”

This week in STEM, we are using our skills of observation and adding to them our sense of touch, smell and our higher order thinking as well as our ability to analyze and consider, and pose thoughtful, relevant questions.

We are taking close looks at scientific samples – everything from hawk feathers to Indigenous Peoples’ corn, to nests, bugs, and seeds. A little bit of everything is on the table. Literally. Many standards are integrated, including reading, writing, and communicating. Some are obvious – science, technology, and others. Some are subtly woven into learning and lessons.

Students are deepening their understanding of scientific tools, also, by investigating the items closely while using hand lenses and magnifiers of different strengths, shapes and materials. Through station rotation (depending on age, grade, and maturity), students see the world around them through objects they can touch and enjoy while investigating like scientists do. It all helps them to put the world around them into small, manageable, and relatable pieces, while being confident and courageous enough to ask questions, be uncertain about answers, and collaborate and communicate with each other.

We begin our 5E’s of science instruction with Engage, and this week, it’s Amphibians: how are frogs like/unlike us? Younger students learn about frogs’ ability to jump, and older students learn about the bullfrog’s ability to satisfy its hunger and stay alive. We explore frog facts starting with Madagascan frogs and a close look at what is believe to be 1/6th of the frog species known to humans on Madagascar. We learn the word for frog scientist (Herpetologist) and its Greek root (Herpon – to crawl or creep). Then, we learn all about the frogs’ lives.

Our Meg tooth is also on continual display for students to observe and enjoy.

MVES Science Fair:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Please note the date. More details to come soon. Open to all students K-5. Set-up will occur the day prior, and the location will be the Cafeteria.

Second Tier:
Six top-placing MVES scientists will move on to the Regional/District Fair. For parents, please note that any MVES students moving on to the Regional/District Fair will participate at that next level on Saturday, February 8th, 2020, from 8:15 AM – 2:30 PM, at Smitha Middle School (2025 Powder Springs Rd SW, Marietta, GA 30064). Again, more details to come soon!

Field Trip! Fernbank Museum has some fabulous offerings for August and Fall.

There are new IMAX films, events, and of course, the museum is in and of itself fabulous to visit.

The outdoor areas are wonderful for exploration, walking, and for observing, as well as for picnicking and snacking. Enjoy! #STEMon

Follow me on Twitter, @jenniferagates, and stay engaged with what happens in the STEM lab and @MtnViewES #BeNice #ShowCompassion #ExpressGratitude #BeKind #EveryStudentEveryDay #LoveToSTEMHere #STEMon #SchoolLeadershipMatters

Compare/Contrast – Observe/Analyze: Breaking down the world around us into bite-size learning pieces.

Our first week in the STEM lab, we are taking the concepts of Compare & Contrast, Observe & Analyze and using them at all grade levels to understand the natural world and step back into daily school-based learning. We started with a tour of this year’s STEM lab-it’s new in some ways, the same in others, and it helps to immediately reinforce learning by looking (at your environment, just like a scientist observes as a first step in learning).

Baby stingray

Then, we compared ourselves to the baby stingrays recorded at an aquarium in Oregon, and seen here. Compare and contrast – or same and different, or like and unlike – is a concept that is applied through STEM at all grade levels. The same is said of observe and analyze; we look to learn, and then think about what we know, what we want to know, and questions we have, at all grade levels. It’s universally relevant and important. Through age-appropriate vocabulary, definitions, and applications, all students are learning these important ideas that can be applied in all aspects of their daily lives and beyond STEM lab.

We use the learning through concepts I call “Me/We/Us” and “Think/Pair/Share” – moving their opinions and thinking from themselves to others through talk with peers. Then the “Us” or “Share” application occurs when we discuss in larger groups and as a class. It’s a wonderfully appealing way to dig deep into their thinking and learning, and as I’m constantly telling the students, telling someone what you think and what you know is the best way to cement your own thinking and learning. We also talk a lot about thinking about our thinking – or metacognition. Students must know how and why they think, as well as what they think.

We also apply the concepts of Compare/Contrast, Observe/Analyze to a greater perspective, by examining something first-hand-literally getting our hands on a scientific sample. In this week’s case, the welcome back lessons include mollusk shells I collected and purchased. Each student takes a mollusk shell and examines it using the same concept of Me/We/Us – meaning, they look at it closely (like a scientist does), examining every aspect of it for similarities and differences to self. Then, they apply that learning and higher level thinking to a peer-oriented collaboration. It’s vital that students know how best to communicate and collaborate. That comes with practice. Which we do in every single STEM class.

Captain Grace Hopper

Lastly, they are using their observation skills to consider ways in which they can see themselves in others, and through the natural world. So many strong and high level comparisons are being made. It doesn’t have to be a complex idea or lesson to engage students at high levels. But it does have to be research-based, used the practices best for their learning at each age, grade, and for each unique child, and to be connected to their world, and based on their required learning standards. So, even the simplest, smallest lessons are planned over weeks, and sometimes months, prepared well and strongly connected to them and their lives, as well as based on what I know to be relevant, engaging, and important learning. Plus, who doesn’t love to see baby stingrays being as curious about us as we are about them?!

We discussed the fun fact about Captain Grace Hopperwho on Aug. 1, 1967, was recalled to the Navy to help run the military’s computers. It was a job only a woman – and the world’s foremost coder – could do at that time. Students instantly remembered our study of Grace last year as one of our STEM experts, how she coined the term we still used today – ‘Computer Bug‘ – and why she’s an important person in our lives.

Every week, in every class, with every student, I work to ensure they are learning a scientific fact, thinking and questioning at high levels, working with their peers, being creative and strategic, applying STEM principles and learning standards as well as integrating all other standards, and communicating their thinking. It’s a tall order, but I am blessed to be the one sharing the learning with your child, and thankful every day for this gift of an opportunity and to be at Mountain View.

Welcome back, indeed.

SY 2019-20

I’m excited to be the STEM specialist for 2019-20 and to help inspire big dreams, great achievements, and continual success.

This year, we will be exploring STEM careers, our curated library of STEM experts and heroes grows, we’ll learn the ‘ologies’ and learning how best to communicate our ideas – all based on the STEM standards we know and love. There will be engineering, creating, laughing, learning, and collaborating with our peers. In other words, it’s gonna be a fabulous year!

Every student visits the STEM lab, even Preschoolers. It’s an important part of their learning experience at MVES, and many classrooms integrate hands-on STEM lessons and activities, too. It’s a team effort.

I would love parent or volunteer help across the year. Look for a sign-up soon. If you work in a STEM profession, I would also love a guest speaker visit – it will be on the aforementioned sign-up, too.

2019-20 STEM Supply List:

Here are the supplies that the STEM lab needs all year long:

  • LYSOL or CHLOROX brand disinfecting wipes;
  • black EXPO brand dry erase markers;
  • Post-It brand sticky notes – any sizes, preferably unlined;
  • Pre-sharpened pencils:
  • Bubble-blowing liquid & wands;
  • Purell brand hand sanitizer;
  • Masking and clear tape – any and all brands & sizes welcome!
  • Paper towels – any and all brands and sizes 🙂
  • Paper towel rolls (cardboard tubes);
  • Used LEGOs – we’ll take anything you have and put it to immediate & good use!
  • STEM-related used books for readers ages 5-10.

I’m active on Twitter, my expertise, certifications, degrees, and credentials are listed on LinkedIn, and I have a YouTube channel.

Parents, please email me directly regarding clubs & activities including ESO (Science Olympiad) and ESF (Science Fair). This year, we will also be starting a STEM Gems club (Girls Who STEM). All club and activity information will be posted in late August, as the school year takes shape and the schoolwide calendar is updated.

Welcome back!

We heart visitors! Drop by and see how STEM is done sometime this year or volunteer to support the lab or one of its school-wide events (Science Fair, Science Olympiad).

Thank you for a warm welcome back at MVES Sneak-a-Peek on Tuesday, July 30. I really enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones: thank you for the donations of wipes, and for every parent that came with a child to say hi and take a look at the lab.

A heartfelt thank you to so many students who brought bags full of supplies to start us off: thanks, especially to Student M. from Mrs. Cook’s 1st grade class, who brought a lovely hug with her huge donation. The STEM lab hearts you and your generosity.

Supply requests:

We are always in need of Lysol and Chlorox wipes. We are also always in need of small, clean, paper boxes (popcorn, cracker, cereal, even oatmeal – again, clean, please).

Thanks for any donations of the following for our upcoming “Sound Week” in the STEM Lab:

-empty tissue boxes, ideally the large ones;
-paper towel rolls (cardboard rolls);
-cereal boxes;
-oatmeal or cylindrical paper/cardboard containers (clean, and lids are okay too – we’ll use ‘em);
-wax paper rolls;
-clean pie tins (any size).

If you’ve got it, and don’t need it, but think it could be used to create a cool instrument, we’ll take it!

Items can be donated to the lab via student drop-off to a box outside of the lab door. Many thanks for your continued support!

It’s #RAACobb Week at MVES! We are making the most of it in STEM.

And, #RAADay #ReadAcrossAmerica

#DrSeussDay #DrSeuss #DrSeussBirthday

In #STEM, we are reading many great books this week, including:

The Shark Lady, about Eugenie Clark.

Is a Camel a Mammal?  Listen to it read aloud by a young student here.

Oh Say, Can You Seed?   Clam-I-Am! (All About the Beach)

If I Ran the Rainforest  A great read aloud of the story here.

Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?

So many great books, so little time 🙂 Please visit the MVES Book Fair to purchase a wonderful story to share with your child, and support our school and its Learning Commons resources. We are thankful for you and your support!

Ms. Levy (2nd), Ms. Hauser (PreK) and I (STEM) had a fabulous time helping to serve ice cream and cheer on Mountain View families at our local Bruster’s Ice Cream parlor at Trickum and Shallowford.

Thanks to owners Maxine and Rick for supporting our school 🙂

Thanks to PTA for selling books to help our school 🙂

It was fabulous to see our students and their families!

We are loving studying animals at Kindergarten and 1st grade. We are watching the birds closely, thanks to the Cornell cameras.

Barred Owls We even saw the eggs and its prey-littered nest.

Birds in Ontario  We watched crows dance and display!

There are many cameras that offer bird views non-stop.

Please visit them here.

We had an amazing time building Leprechaun Traps 🙂

Please see all of the engineering activity on @jenniferagates on Twitter.

The students were so creative and displayed excellent teamwork working together.

It’s #RAACobb Week! And, #RAADay #ReadAcrossAmerica #DrSeussDay #DrSeuss #DrSeussBirthday

We’re honoring the rhyming styles of Dr. Seuss & dedicating our STEM lab time to STEM rhymes, Dr. Seuss’ finest STEM-related tales & using literacy and technology to drive and support our learning.

In other words, what a fabulous time!

If you’re looking for real life inspiration – watch this video about a man who learned to read at 91, and by 98, was a published author!



Digital Learning Day! 

For photos from our #DigitalLearningDay please visit @jenniferagates & @MtnViewES on Twitter.

PPT Overview for Students DigitalLearningDay 2019 Feb 28-tot5uk
PDF Overview for Students DigitalLearningDay 2019 Feb 28-1pketdt

Visit any of the sites below, surf safely (use the Cyber 5) and have fun!


PBS Kids: Videos          PBS Kids: Games

BrainPopJr – watch cool and important videos!

Starfall – Kindergarten        Starfall – Grades 1, 2, & 3

Love to code?     Diary of a Worm – great video!


NASA Kids      Young Ocean Explorers

Hour of Code: let’s go!        Coding-Shaun the Sheep Academy

More coding – Scratch       ScienceBob!

Math’s your thing           Braineos

Art’s your favorite!


BrainPop         National Geographic: Kids (Nat Geo)

Canadian Geographic        FunBrain

Read a cool book!    Listen to a great story!   More books!

Read the news          Listen to/make music

Lots of choices! Pick your grade.          Fuel the Brain 😉

Ohhhhh – you love math…          Kids play games

2nd Grade Computer Lab: Seasons, Shadows & the Moon

Visit some of these sites to learn more about technology, math, seasons, shadows, and the moon!

2nd grade MATH – IXL

3rd grade math – IXL

Want to code? Have fun here! HOUR of CODE by Choose any program/game – use your headphones to hear the sound.

Seasons – BrainPop

About the Seasons: Ducksters

Sunshine & Shadows

How Shadows are Formed

Science: Light and Shadow

Phases of the Moon music video

Phases of the Moon explanation Genius Kids

Light and Shadow: Science for Kids

Super Stars (Constellations): Crash Course Kids #31.1

Constellation Location: Crash Course Kids #31.2

The Zodiac Constellations: Crash Course Kids #37.1

Explore the Galaxy: NASA site

3rd Grade Computer Lab: Conservation & Recycling Web Quest

Use your graphic organizer to write down what you’ve learned about our environment, particularly conservation and recycling, after visiting various websites and watching videos. This is what the organizer looks like: Research Conservation Recycling Online-1uts4ys

You must visit at least 5 websites and watch at least 2 videos and record what you’ve learned about conservation and recycling from each. You may watch the videos and read the articles more than once. Turn in your paper to Ms. Gates when class is over so she can see what you’ve learned.

Websites Pick 5 or more from this list:

What is an Oil Spill? – Scholastic article

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – Ducksters article

Oil Spills: Sad, but True – Kidzworld article

Colombia Oil Spill – Impact/animals hurt or killed, slideshow

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico – Scholastic article

The Gulf Oil Spill – One Year Later – Scholastic article

Oil Leak Sealed for Good – Scholastic article

The Worst Oil Spill in US History – Scholastic article

Oil Spill Information for Kids

What is Conservation? – Mongo Bay article

Recycling Facts for Kids – Kids Play & Create

VideosPick 2 or more from this list:

Recycling with LeVar Burton: How Trash is Recycled

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico: Scholastic video

Where Did the Oil Go?: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Timeline by Time Magazine (video)

News Story: Louisiana Spill Effects on Children (Associated Press)

4th Grade Computer Lab: Weather Web Quest

Use your graphic organizer to write down what you’ve learned about our weather instruments, weather, the seasons and climate, after visiting various websites and watching videos. This is what the organizer looks like: Research 4th Weather Online-10ra5xf

You must visit at least 5 websites and watch at least 2 videos and record what you’ve learned about the topics you’re studying from each. You may watch the videos and read the articles more than once. Turn in your paper to Ms. Gates when class is over so she can see what you’ve learned.

Websites – Pick 5 or more from this list:

Weather Bomb in Michigan (great map to study)

What is Bombogenesis? Mini video embedded (weather bomb explained – yes, it’s real)

Michigan Winter Weather Storm – Mini video embedded Weather Bomb Hits & Snow Falls!

Weather Map Facts for Kids

How to Read a Weather Map

Just for Kids (Weather) – National Weather Service – lots to see here!

Weather Instruments for Kids   More Weather Instruments   Even More Weather Instruments

Forecasting Weather Instruments  Wiz Kids Weather Tools

Weather WizKids    Fun Instruments Video (Star Wars-themed)

Weather Wizkids – Predicting the Weather

Get the Weather – Instant Report

Script Template for Weather Prediction

How much warmer is the world getting? NYX article & local graphing

Videos – Pick 2 or more from this list:

Seasons – Why do we have them? Crash Course Kids #11.1

Kid Meteorologist: PBS Kids

Severe Weather: Crash Course Kids #28.2

The Naming of Clouds: Richard Hamblyn

Rain Gauges & Weather Balloons

Weather Channels: Crash Course for Kids #34.2

How to Predict the Weather by Looking at the Clouds

Meteorologist Ryan Davidson Explains Weather Maps: North Carolina

How to Read a Weather Map: University of Illinois Extension

The Weather Channel: read the maps, watch videos and read articles about weather.

5th grade Computer Lab: Physical & Chemical Changes Web Quest

Use your graphic organizer to write down what you’ve learned about our physical and chemical changes after visiting various websites and watching videos. This is what the organizer looks like: Research 5th Physical Chemical Changes Graphic Organizer Online-pudsur

You must visit at least 5 websites and watch at least 2 videos and record what you’ve learned about physical and chemical changes from each. You may watch the videos and read the articles more than once. Turn in your paper to Ms. Gates when class is over so she can see what you’ve learned.

Websites – Pick 5 or more from this list:

Flip cards & Activities on P & C Changes

Challenge Quiz on P & C Changes

Physical and Chemical Changes – Animated

Study Jams – P & C Changes

Quizes & Simulations on P & C Changes

See what works here (lots of possibilities)

Explanation – PPt slideshow Peach Schools

List of Examples – P & C Changes

Videos – Pick 2 or more from this list:

Physical and Chemical Changes for Kids

Watt’s Up – P & C Changes

Chemical Changes – Crash Course: Kids #19.2

Wood, Water & Properties – Crash Course: Kids #15.1


Details are coming together for our Science Olympiad team. A final team of up to 22 students will be selected from the applicants. We’re looking for positive, team-oriented problem solvers that love science, a bit of collaborative fun and cooperating with others on time-sensitive challenges.

MVES Schedule

There will be 2 try-out dates: Tuesday, Feb. 5 & Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Two sessions: 2:30 – 3:25 pm, & 3:30 – 4:25 pm. Location: STEM Lab.

This year’s events: eso_events_for_18-19-15segie

Grading for try-outs (rubric in teacher speak): MVES Rubric Tryouts Building Challenge (Basic)-2fib0bz

We need donated snacks, session volunteers, and most especially – event coaches! If you can spare some time on Tuesday afternoons preparing our students for competition, we would love to have you supporting our students!

Please sign up here:

Snack donation…………...   Session volunteer support……………..

Event coach……………… (this requires weekly commitment, plus event)

This is the student application, which requires parent and teacher endorsement: 2018-19 ESO App MVES Final-268p9b4

2018-19 ESO Events

Applications and an overview presentation will be given to students at the try-out sessions on 2/5 and 2/12.

MVES Schedule

Kindergarten Registration!

Please join us at Mountain View for an overview of our fabulous Kindergarten program.

See this flyer for more information: K orientation flyer 19-20-1g5t299


Who’s famous?! MVES student scientists!

Cobb EdTV is making stars our of our students and showing off their scientific capabilities in this video story. Congrats Marley & Emma on making the cut in the video, and to all of the students that talked so well about their experiments with the news crew and represented Mountain View so professionally. Thanks to Ravi Narine and Nan Kiel from CCSD Communications for coming to the MVES Science Fair, and for giving our students this fabulous opportunity to shine and celebrate their learning.

Click here to watch the video and enjoy! 

Science Fair!

Thank you to everyone who supported a super scientist in the MVES science fair! It was a successful event, showcasing student learners and hard work that goes into deep thinking about the world around us. We had 39 entries, and a tremendous showing by the judges panel. We are appreciative of our community representatives and leaders that took the time to visit the Fair and judge each of the projects five separate times. That allowed for students to have a minimum of three interviews with judges and up to five opportunities to share their learning and results with people. Speaking and Listening standards were on full display and our Mountain Lions shone during their opportunities to talk about their learning.

Winners were selected using the rubric (Rubric MVES 2018-19-28lme88) and allowed judges to fully examine student understanding of their learning and their research while appreciating the depth of young minds on topics of importance to them.

And now (drum roll): Congratulations! As the independent committee of judges evaluated projects, here are their selected winners:

Congratulations to all participants on fabulous work, and to our winners! We are so proud of your hard work!

National STEM Gingerbread Challenge:

Starting Monday, December 10, and running until Friday, December 21, 2018, our outstanding STEM students are completing in the national STEM gingerbread building challenge.

Every STEM student this week is reviewing inspiring architecture, associated literature, and suggested items for donation – a box of graham crackers, a bag or can of icing, a bag of candy, marshmallows, chocolates, other types of cookies or crackers (various shapes), etc. – and if each child brings in one donated item, we will have more than enough to support a school-wide build of communities with collaboratively designed 3D architecture.

Helpful how-to videos are these two by Charlene Dy: How to Build a Graham Cracker Gingerbread House & How to Decorate a Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

If you can support our community-based hands-on learning, please round up any of the following materials to help us create our Gingerbread STEM community. Including:

  • Graham crackers
  • Icing (bags or cans but bags are easier for tiny hands)
  • Candies (Dollar Tree/WalMart and any candy that can help decorate buildings/structures or act as landscape features)
  • Snack foods (pretzels, small cookies, small crackers, popcorn)
  • Food coloring
  • Zip-top bags
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Empty cardboard boxes and school milk cartons
  • I have purchased several hot glue guns (for gluing the graham crackers to empty boxes and cartons before decorating),
  • any other items you think children would enjoy using to decorate the gingerbread community structures.\

If your child uses an apron for crafts at home, feel free to send them with it to use during these classes.

If you’re on Twitter, I’m @jenniferagates, and the competition on Twitter is showcased at #GingerbreadSTEM many schools and classes are already showing off their creations and collaborative efforts. You can search for the entries using STEM Gingerbread Challenge, etc. All of our classes are participating, and we will build collaboratively across the next two weeks, adding to and expanding consecutively upon the creations of our fabulous STEM students.

The contest is also on Flipgrid – use this password: gingerbreadstem2018 and it’s on Facebook

Any and all donations are appreciated and welcomed to the STEM lab. Students (and any staff or parents) may drop them off at any time. Several have already been brought by and are stacking up in the donation box.

What an honor and privilege to be invited to train STEM teachers in Cobb and Paulding Counties on how to successfully write grant applications and fundraise for classroom supplies.

We had a blast learning how to write effective and engaging grant applications, how to celebrate your STEM classes and school’s successes, and how to collaborate and rely on your team to get the work done.

It’s all about dedication, perseverance, collaboration and details! Thank you to Drs. Garriss and Spooner for allowing me to share my expertise and love of STEM with other teachers and our STEM cohorts in both counties.

Science Fair:

MVES is excited to hold our annual Science Fair on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Judging will take place during the day, with science experiments on display in the cafeteria for the week of December 11-14, 2018. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 on the AM announcements. All participants get a certificate that shows their excellence and dedication to science at Mountain View, and the initiative to conduct an experiment in order to participate. Well done to all those who are asking questions and looking for answers by doing research and examining the possible answers.

Information Packet: MVESF Applicaton 2018-19-1wq2xyy Here is the rubric: Rubric MVES 2018-19-28lme88

All application forms are due to hold a display spot for students by Friday, November 30, 2018.

All display boards are due no later than (absolutely last day to drop-off to me) is Friday, December 7, 2018.

No volcanoes, no liquids, no open food, no mold(s), no plants, no animals 🙂 The display board must stand by itself.

School-based MVES winners will go to the district fair at Lovinggood MS to compete in February. 

Thank you for your support of science and STEM at MVES and in our school community

Hour of Code:

Have you heard about the “Hour of Code” project? It’s a way to get all students learning how to write computer coding and to ‘become’ computer programmers – a skill for now and for tomorrow! You can find out more information at – the official organization behind this important event. Mountain View is participating – of course! 🙂 Visit the website and try ANY of the games – you will find yourself coding along with the kids, and loving every minute of it!

#NeverTooOldToLearn #STEMon #LetsGetCoding #HourOfCode

Healthy Kids, Healthy School:

Important Information!

From our outstanding nurse, Mrs. Milton, R.N., here are a couple of reminders:

To help prevent the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu season, please wash your student’s water bottle every weekend. It especially needs a good washing if it has been sitting full of liquid for any amount of time (overnight/weekends, and especially over breaks!).

Please check your child’s hair for nits/lice! It’s important to stay on top of issues that can quickly spread. Thank you!

Science Olympiad Update:

In order to allow students to focus on end of semester projects and assignments as well as science fair entries and chorus performances without being overwhelmed (whew!), Science Olympiad practices begin in January. More details to come before the end of 2018.

Thanksgiving Lunch!

We are so thankful for your support of our students. Welcome to MVES for a delicious Thanksgiving meal this week!

Here is the schedule if you plan to come and eat lunch with your child as we celebrate Thanksgiving in advance of the break (school is closed next week).

Thanksgiving Schedule for Parents 2018-19-2elr6f0

Happy Conference Week!

#STEM classes are shorter due to Conference Week – only 30 minutes. Primary students are learning about Frank Lloyd Wright and his impact on architecture around the world, including his use of design to bring ‘the outdoors in.’ Students in grades K-2 are exploring the use of building similar structures to that of @FallingWater – one of Wright’s most famous designs and structures – using LEGO pieces and other basic STEM tools, such as popsicle sticks and blue and green ‘makers mats’ to give them a foundation in nature.

Please visit me on Twitter to see their inspiring and creative work. Questions being considered are “What is design?” “How can I be my most creative self?” “How does architecture fit into STEM?” “Why is planning something important?” “What happens when no plan is made in STEM?” Wright was the first architect to make homes open concept, and is also famous for making the homes as ‘natural’ as possible.

Intermediate students are continuing to use their STEM smarts to help solve big problems. Their Indonesian Warning Devices/Systems presentations have begun. Students are using rubrics to give feedback to the design teams, and each presentation group is sharing their initial design to help warn Indonesian residents of impending tsunamis and related storms. Students are providing feedback through the use of positive remarks on a rubric/feedback form about their design/plan/system as well as the presentation. Additionally, they are sharing a question with the presentation team and offering STEM-based suggestions on how best to improve each group’s design.

A grade-level top project is being selected by the students. Each grade will then select the top tier design/plan/system through a gallery walk and presentation preview. The top tier two projects from 4th and 5th grade will be shared with the world on social media (AKA Ms. Gates’ Twitter account). Their work is incredibly creative, meaningful and relevant to their lives. Plus – wow – great ideas! 

Third grade is completing its Rocks, Minerals & Soils gallery walks through “Exploration Stations,” and is turning its attention to Fossils. The introduction to Fossils has begun, and we’re doing a simulated archeological dig as students attempt to put a dinosaur back together using only clues from its bones about how and where it lived.

Yes – a lot in each of the class periods of 30 minutes – but every second counts in learning, and here at @MtnViewES, and I’m not going to waste a single opportunity! #EveryStudentEveryDay #SchoolLeadershipMatters

Parents – please complete the Thanksgiving Lunch Survey! We need to help plan to make your memories special. Thank you for your support!



Thank you so much, MVES parents and community, for your support of our Fall Festival! What a wonderful, well-attended event!!


Boosterthon Fun Run Campaign!

Our @Boosterthon Fun Run Campaign is underway, and we need your help! Money raised will help pay for @MtnViewES Tech & STEAM Labs – resources & salary! Thank you for your continued dedication to student excellence at Mountain View! #everystudenteveryday Spread the word in our school community & help fund excellence for #TeamMVES

Super Resources!

Want to help your child engage and use our fabulous and helpful digital resources? Download these login directions to support your student’s learning:

K-2nd Digital Resources-2kiaohd

3rd – 5th Digital Resources-292isyh

STEM Fall Break Camp!

Here’s an exciting opportunity to have your child stay STEM engaged during the September school break! Grades 2-8 are invited to participate. Students may attend any or all days for $75.00 per day, and those in grades 2-8 have their choice of sessions, including: 3D printing, underwater robotics, field trip to iFly (indoor skydiving), and much more! Check out or learn more here.

The STEM camps during Fall Break are offered at three school-based locations: Ford Elementary School (North/East), Mableton Elementary School (South) and Pitner Elementary School (North). You can also help @MtnViewES win STEM resources, compliments of the CCSD STEM & Innovation Department, as the school with the most student attendees wins prizes and district recognition and acclaim!

STEM Lab Grade Level Updates:

We are excited to be engaged in standards-based STEM learning during Quarter 1 of this year (August – mid-October). All grade levels are participating in STEM challenges that align with their science pacing guides, and that incorporate STEM and other content learning (such as Reading, Language Arts, Technology, Math, and Art) standards.

Kindergarten – Physical Properties of Matter (Sinking & Floating)

1st Grade – Weather & Seasons, Magnets (Wind Sock Challenge)

2nd Grade – Properties of Matter (Cup Creation Challenge)

3rd Grade – Rocks, Minerals & Soils (Crime Scene Investigation)

4th Grade – Earth & Moon, Stars & Planets (Stop motion movie(s))

5th Grade – Constructive & Destructive Forces (Dam Building/Hurricane Prep)

STEM Raps!

Uh, YEAH – of course they rock! STEM rap PSA by high schoolers, unpacking the STEM acronym, for grown-ups: Chris Emdin explains his love of hip hop and rap to support STEM learning, (and for fun, here is Emdin’s outstanding TEDTalk about teaching). Research says putting important information and ideas to music or adding an underlying rhythm makes it easier to remember.

Fernbank Museum:

If you haven’t been to one of Atlanta’s greatest treasures, make a point of enriching your child’s learning over the Fall Break (Sept. 24-28, 2018) with a visit to Fernbank. Or – don’t wait and head there this weekend: several fun events are planned for Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19, 2018Fernbank Museum of Natural History is always a great destination to inspire and excite your child’s curiosity and interest in history and the natural world. A wonderful exhibit about food and its global appeal and importance is wrapping up soon. Two new films have been recently added, and of course, you can’t miss the dinosaur bones and a relaxing walk on the grounds to round out the trip. Here’s their latest promotional flyer.

Donations needed:

The STEM lab is in great and immediate need of (blunt-edged) student scissors & glue sticks.

STUDENT SCISSORS: That’s right – if you can, please donate a pair of blunt-end student-sized scissors! If blunt-end are not available, sharp for small hands are acceptable.

GLUE STICKS (prefer Elmer’s brand): We do not have any glue sticks. We would love to be able to glue items in notebooks, journals, and use the glue as an instructional tool and resource.

Any donations are welcome. The lab currently has NONE of either item. I will pick some up this weekend, too, and perhaps together, we can create enough to support classes for Quarter 1.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MVES Foundation! Mountain Lions!!!! Go #TEAMMVES


Let’s Connect!

Please follow me on Twitter, @Jenniferagates and us @MtnViewES #TeamMtnView 

Not yet tweeting? No worries – it’s super easy. Instructions here (or search YouTube for helpful videos).

Welcome back, MVES Mountain Lions!

Have a fantabulous first day @MtnViewES.

Ms. Gates is absolutely THRILLED to be leading the STEM charge on campus!

STEM Lab will be up and running in August. Stay tuned for a schedule and updated information!

Science News!

Mark your calendars:

#TeamMVES @MtnViewES

Mountain View Science Fair: Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Details to come!

CCSD Science Fair – ESF (District) – February 9, 2019 – Location: Lovinggood MS

Hours: 8:15 AM – 2:30 PM

ESF Event Address:

Lovinggood Middle School
3825 Luther Ward Road
​Powder Springs, GA 30127

CCSD Science Fair – MS (District) – February 9, 2019 – Location: Lovinggood MS

CCSD Science Olympiad – ES (District) – March 23, 2019 – Location: Walton HS

Hours: TBD

ESO Event Address:

Walton High School
1590 Bill Murdock Rd,
Marietta, GA 3006


CCSD Science Olympiad – MS (District) – March 16, 2019 – Location: Kennesaw Mountain HS

Mathletes: A fun, free, engaging way to practice your math facts can be found here.

Thanks to Greg Tang – this is an awesome way to get back into the Math business – and the Summer Challenge goes until September (for those fun folks still on summer break until after Labor Day).

Parentsread the info page, then print the game board for your child – and select the right grade level for ‘just right’ challenge level(s). It’s that simple! Free accomplishment certificates are there for the printing, too, thanks to Mr. Tang.

It’s a super opportunity to ramp up thinking in time for August 1 – and to keep up practice in the open moments at home. #STEMon!

I’m thrilled to be the new STEM facilitator at Mountain View ES – and to be able to share my love of science, technology, engineering, and math, with students. I’ll also be coordinating Science Fair and Science Olympiad. There is also a Regional Technology Competition.

Let’s work together to ensure our students make every day their personal masterpiece through high quality STEM learning – just as Coach Wooden suggested.

I’ll be posting any relevant news, instructional assignments, and information here. I celebrate student success and accomplishments in our STEM lab on Twitter @jenniferagates

Here’s a primer on STEM in Cobb Schools: STEM education programs in Cobb cultivate problem solvers through problem based learning and critical thinking engagement with in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students create, design, build, discover, and collaborate while developing contextual connections between school, community, work, and the global environment.”

As we settle into a new school year in Cobb Schools, it’s important to reflect on purpose for bringing our best selves to school. Here are some great articles & inspiring reads.

Fun ideas for the weekend, evenings, and days off.

Why is STEM important? Read here.

STEM and the push to eliminate the gender gap. In other words: girls+STEM=fabulous combo.

STEM careers – what’s the big deal?

STEAM – love adding the Arts!

Playdough to Plato: STEM fun

Great STEM links & more info