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STEM News Roundup: Innovation Across the Country

STEM News Roundup: Innovation Across the Country

The school year is coming to a close, and many teachers and schools are closing their year with amazing stories about how they've promoted STEM in their classrooms or intend to do so next year. Read below for some examples of STEM innovation across the country.

1. Tech Charter School

According to the Hechinger Report, New Orleans educator Jonathon Johnson was inspired to open a charter school dedicated to helping students get into the technology field after graduation by the death of one of his bright students.

The school is called the Rooted School, and Johnson may even "be able to offer them an income while in high school through internships with various local tech companies that work in search engine optimization, marketing, and software development," the article said.

The school is slated to open next year, and until then, Johnson is testing out his intended curriculum now on a small group of students in a near-by charter network, using online and project-based learning to help teach STEM skills.

Johnson also plans to meet with big tech companies like Google, TurboSquid and Operation Spark to find out how best to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the tech field.

Read more about Johnson and his charter school plan here.

2. STEM Certificate for Early Learners

This upcoming September, a New Jersey community college will be offering a STEM certificate program for teaching early learners.

Raritan Valley Community College's Early Childhood STEM Certificate of Completion program will deal with the youngest of learners up until age four, according to NJ.com.

"The 15-credit program is geared toward those who are already working at an early childhood center or preschool, or those interested in teaching very young children. The program includes courses in Early Childhood Curriculum; Methods of Teaching Young Children; Math and Science for Young Children; and Nutrition, Health and Safety for Preschool Children. It also features a cooperative education component," the article said.

The move to create a special program designated for teaching STEM to the youngest of learners shows not only the nationwide focus on instructing STEM, but also the country's efforts to get young learners challenged academically as soon as possible.

Read more here.

3. STEM Scouts

Always one to address the country's needs, the Boy Scouts of America have created a pilot program in Tennessee where boys and girls participate in STEM Scouts—a program designed specifically for STEM learning.

"As part of the program, the kids are divided into elementary, middle, and high school divisions, and meet once a week for 90 minutes. For four to six weeks at a time, they focus on theme-based modules," according to FastCoexist.com.

This fall, the pilot program's success will allow it to expand to over 12 cities. Click here to find out if STEM Scouts is coming to a city near you. 

4. The Great Balloon Chase

In one Connecticut school district, students across all grade levels in West Hartford are participating in the school's launch of two weather balloons in to the earth's stratosphere, according to a West Hartford Patch article. In addition to different science experiments, the balloons will be equipped with GoPros, a GPS unit, and a parachute.

Each grade level will contribute an experiment to the balloon and "will 'wonder' and 'inquire' about what will happen to the items as they reach a high altitude and changing temperature. Some of the items include a small bag of potato chips, a grape and a marshmallow."

To read more about the Great Balloon Chase, click here

5. Project Lead the Way: Getting an Entire State Involved

In Oklahoma, Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is designed to serve as K-12 program to get students across the state involved and learning about STEM.

Though the program has been around for years and has proved to be successful with each year, this fall will see an elementary school STEM program sponsored by PLTW that will offer 24 different modules to students that cover engineering, biomedical science, and computer science.

Read more about the program here.

Send us your school's plans for STEM innovation for next fall and comment below.

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/02/2015

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