Science Technology Engineering and Math curriculum, blessedly abbreviated as STEM, has been front and center in school news for many years now. This integrated approach to teaching has gained popular acceptance as a key method in preparing students for an increasingly technologically driven economy. In addition to traditional classroom learning and laboratory work, Maker Spaces have become the latest setting for STEM experience.
Maker Spaces are “do it yourself” workshops where students come to imagine, build, tinker, construct, and perfect creations of many different styles and kinds. These unconventional classrooms incorporate hands-on learning experiences that reinforce and build on STEM concepts, and have come to be included in state and federal funding efforts.
This year Maharishi School was awarded a STEM Scale-Up Program grant consisting of over $5,000 in new materials to augment every area of the Maker Space. These tools include:
1. A GoPro camera
2. A Hummingbird Classroom Robotics Kit, which allows students in grades 4 and up will to build their own robots and learn beginning programming skills.
3. Cubelets, which are robot blocks that make it fast and easy to engage children as young as four in learning to build robots.
4. A Brother Sewing Machine
5. Strawbees, a construction toy to problem solve, learn basic mechanics, physics and construction in a meaningful way.
6. Woodworking Tools, including six new tool sets, a hand saw with a miter box, cordless drills, and much more.
In addition to these tools and materials, the Scale-Up Program Award includes professional development for teachers so they can best use the Maker Space to complement STEM curriculum.
On Wednesday, August 9, Maharishi School K-6 teachers attended an 8-hour workshop entitled
"Making STEM Connections", granted through the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council. Teachers grew in their understanding of how to bring the Maker Movement to the students.
Teachers are very excited to use all the new materials, and we can't wait to share with the kids!