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Photos by The Curated Family
Photos by The Curated Family
Students at Yeshiva Har Torah work with a teacher

Students at a Little Neck school have begun to embark on a unique scholastic journey with some state-of-the-art equipment at their side.

Yeshiva Har Torah‘s sixth-graders have the distinct opportunity to take charge of their own education with a new “independent study program,” which allows students to choose a specific topic that interests them. The sixth-graders will then begin rounds of project proposals, research, peer-collaboration, prototyping and building.

An interdisciplinary team of educators from backgrounds including science, technology, English and social studies will guide students, allowing them to take on projects spanning a scope of topics.

Student research and collaboration will also be enhanced with cutting-edge technology, including a 3-D printer and accompanying software.

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The program and tech additions were made possible with a $5,000 grant from the Tech for Learning Initiative, a program of The Jewish Education Project supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The grant covers the cost of the printer, design materials, training and professional development.

Adina Bachrach, a science teacher, said the program will serve as a continuation to a fifth-grade “immersive design thinking” program offered last year. 

“Sixth-graders will come into the program already well-versed in the methods and processes of design thinking to solve open-ended problems,”she said. “This new program will allow them to use that knowledge on something tangible about which they’re passionate.”

Already beginning to discuss topics, sixth-grade students have expressed an interest in meteorology, Lego Robotics, pottery and sports broadcasting.

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Students at the school are offered hands-on STEAM learning beginning in kindergarten, where they are introduced to robotics. Bachrach, Alissa Ossip and Susan Rose, the educators leading the inaugural independent study program, hope to eventually turn the pilot into a school-wide project.

“I am so proud of our team and see this an important step in the constant development of STEAM opportunities for our students,” school principal Rabbi Gary Menchel said.

Yeshiva Har Torah, located at 250-10 Grand Central Pkwy., was founded in 1989 and serves nearly 700 girls and boys today. Learn more on their website.

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