STEM was the topic at the Rotary luncheon September 20th. STEM stands for the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Rotarian, Jessica Herzing introduced District Principal, Amy Schwab, and Bonnie Burgess, current biology and STEM class teacher, who spoke about the journey of researching STEM curriculums and implementing a STEM focused class at the Woodland Elementary School.
The goal has been to provide students K-12 the opportunity to grow and explore through the use of a STEM lab in each building. The district has been diligent in their efforts, and are very close to seeing their goal come to fruition with the addition of a STEM SmartLab at the elementary school. Currently once every 6 days for a 40 minute period second through 6th grades work on various skills. Second graders start with establishing a foundation of learning, how to type and use a computer. Students in each grade up to 6th grade learn new skills and actually work on various projects such as building and writing directions to build virtual bridges and airplanes.
SmartLab learning resources are organized around seven areas of core technological competency: Computer Graphics Scientific Data and Analysis, Circuitry, Robotics and Control Technology, Software Engineering, Digital Communications, and Mechanics and Structures. STEM skills help students to be self-motivated, solve problems, become creative and collaborate together.
The cost of the SmartLab is $119,145.00. The school district has been seeking funding and has acquired a large part of the funding from a $75,000.00 grant from the Mee Foundation along with a $9,000.00 grant from Title IV, and $15,000.00 from The First Community Foundation Partnership (Venture Grant Award). The district contribution will be $18,621.00. The school district is pursuing additional funding of $2,524.00 to secure the balance to move forward. If the funding can be secured by November, the lab should be set up sometime in the spring.