About one-sixth of Iowa’s K-12 students are about to experience the best of STEM at the hands of nearly 1,700 educators trained at more than 60 STEM Scale-Up Program professional development workshops this summer and fall. Both in and out of school educators signed up for one of 11 programs, ranging from natural resource ecology to creative Making and from exciting ways to learn mathematics to issues-based biology and more.
Happening now through October, those awarded a STEM activity or project through the STEM Scale-Up Program in April will attend a training that equips them with the skills and ideas needed to fully implement the program with their students.
“Making STEM Connections,” a program offered by the Science Center of Iowa and on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program roster, held about a dozen workshops across Iowa this month, including one at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo.
The workshop introduced a kit of various materials to educators, letting them get hands-on with the gadgets and program to brainstorm ideas on how to make it work in their classroom or out-of-school settings. Katie Bopes, county youth coordinator for Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach in Jackson County, said the training gave her an inside look at the Maker Movement.
“We have several programs that we can incorporate this with, including 4-H, school enrichment programs, afterschool programming, summer day camps and College for Kids—to name a few,” Bopes said. “The beauty of this program is we are able to use it in many different ways, and all youth that we serve can benefit from it. With all of the programs that we offer, this could possibly reach at least 500 youth in Jackson County.”
Thanks to the financial commitment to STEM from Iowa’s legislature, these impactful programs are raising interest, awareness and performance of Iowa youth at a scale unimaginable just five years ago.
For more information on the STEM Scale-Up Program, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Scale-Up.