Nov
28

The Math of Making STEM Connections

The Math of Making STEM Connections

1,624 containers of Play-Doh, 203 sewing machines, 406 rolls of duct tape… And that’s just the start. It all adds up to SCI’s Making STEM Connections kits for educators across the state.

Making STEM Connections kits have transformed classrooms and libraries into dynamic makerspaces, complete with a variety of innovative materials. The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council selected SCI’s Making STEM Connections for the 2016-17 Scale-Up Program, giving educators access to hands-on, interactive program for grades K-8.

From building a robot that can draw to creating textiles, Making STEM Connections works with educators’ existing curriculum to enhance STEM skills and reinforce the Maker mindset through interactive problem-solving.

SCI Education Specialist Jolie Pelds has managed the project – from purchasing materials to leading professional development trainings at schools.

“Making STEM Connections has given the Science Center of Iowa the opportunity to help educators all across the state create a makerspace in their learning environment,” Pelds said. “The combination of professional training and a tool cart with materials provides a platform to build on hands-on experiences that ignite students’ interest in STEM.”

So… What do Making STEM Connections kits for more than 430 educators in 101 Iowa cities look like?

  • 406 rolls of duct tape
  • 1,218 MaKey MaKey invention kits
  • 203 sewing machines
  • 896 books
  • 2,030 felting needles
  • 6,090 Lithium button cell batteries
  • 1,624 containers of Play-Doh
  • 1,015 packages of zip ties

Volunteers and staff contributed more than 100 hours packaging all the kits, creating memorable makerspaces for classrooms in the Des Moines metro and beyond.

For Pelds, the impact of Making STEM Connections lasts long after all the tool carts are shipped to schools across the state.

“It has been so exciting to hear from teachers on all the ways that they have been able to enrich their existing curriculum with the Making STEM Connections program,” she said.

At Lamoni Middle School, science teacher Liz Carpenter said Making STEM Connections kits have given her students new opportunities for project-based learning.

“My kids were so excited when the tool cart arrived and I started showing them the supplies,” Carpenter said. “One of my girls was looking in all the drawers and said, ‘Oh, I can hardly wait to start my project!’ We have been using the drill, saw, tools, batteries and other items from the kit since about a day after it arrived.”

Learn more about Making STEM Connections and SCI professional development for teachers www.sciowa.org/makingstemconnections

Category: General SCI