Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are hugely important. They are the basis for understanding the world, creating, and inventing. In today’s technology and innovation driven world, STEM is more important than ever. There’s a huge demand for skilled workers in STEM fields. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimates there will be one million more STEM jobs than STEM graduates in the next decade. Not only are STEM careers a high growth field, they are high earning as well. Schools provide a vital role in creating a pipeline to STEM careers and college majors. Below are Jimmie Johnson Foundation Champions Grant recipients who used their grant to enhance STEM learning in a way that is age appropriate and relevant to their students.
Rocky River Elementary in Concord, NC used Lego Mindstorm robots to teach programming. Students in grades 2-5 learned how to apply math concepts to practical application and collaborate with each other in order to complete challenges with their robots. Students’ proficiency in state math assessments grew after completing these fun and engaging projects.
A 2016 recipient, Randolph IB Middle School in Charlotte, NC, will use their grant to create a science environment able to support hand on activities. Students look forward to the new hands on activities incorporated into their science classes, while staff looks forward to increased interest in STEM from students.
Mira Mesa High School in San Diego, CA updated their automotive education program with new technology so students can earn industry certifications while still in high school. This allows students to articulate into Miramar College or enter the workplace with necessary certifications.
From igniting curiosity about STEM in elementary schools to providing workforce training in high schools, the schools demonstrate the wide variety of methods to cultivate excitement, exposure, and skills in STEM disciplines and careers throughout their school career.
Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education 5 Year Strategic Plan: A Report from the Committee on STEM Education, National Science and Technology Council [Washington, D.C.]: Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2013.