STEM to THEM - Accessibility for ALL Students
To inspire young learners to become passionate about STEM education and create life-long learners.
There is an unmet need in communities to provide hands-on STEM learning. Indiana educational requirements now include process standards in Computer Science & Coding and Engineering Design for elementary age students. School districts are struggling to implement these standards in a way that is inquiry-based, process focused, and student centered. Vital Signs Indiana reports that STEM jobs in Indiana will grow at a rate of 13% from 2017 to 2027 specifically in the areas of computing, engineering, and advanced manufacturing. To prepare students to fill this unmet need we must transform STEM education and make it accessible to everyone. It must be fun, interactive, and designed to harvest every child’s natural inclination to explore, to build, and to question. Research shows that providing hands-on STEM learning at younger ages develops the 4 C’s - Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. These skills are proven to impact students today and in the fu
School budgets are limited and do not provide funds needed to transform STEM education. Indiana lawmakers passed a 2 year plan that does provide increased funds but significantly changes how money can be distributed especially in the area of teacher pay. Professional development in STEM and new technology does not exist. The $25,000 will address this unmet need and by helping implement the STEM to THEM mobile lab. We have raised 60% of the funds needed to customize and equip the lab. This $25,000 will help complete the program. The mobile lab will travel to all elementary schools bringing age appropriate lessons in Computer Science & Coding and Engineering Design to more than 6,000 students annually. Students will enter the lab ready to explore STEM through a lens of play, investigation, and fun while increasing student proficiency. They will be immersed in real-world inspired projects that allow them to create, construct, problem solve, and become better thinkers.
The lasting impact on our community will be immediate for all students in grades K-6. The STEM to THEM lessons will immerse every student in hands-on STEM projects giving them the freedom to explore and learn. “The greatest gift we can give students during the elementary years is a driving curiosity, a belief in their abilities, and a thirst for knowledge, and a passion to grow it.” Research shows that students engaged in hands-on STEM learning at younger ages are more likely to take challenging STEM courses in high school. Data in our school district confirms this. Grandview Elem. became an accredited STEM school in 2016; today more than 80% of its students take advanced science electives in middle school. This $25,000 will implement an innovative mobile lab that creates a STEM pathway from grades K-12. The program will ignite a lasting impact by giving students a passion to learn, the opportunity to see themselves in STEM careers, and increase economic stability locally.