By: Sam Marquise, MEF Intern
With the growing need for technological, scientific, and analytical understandings in the job market, it is no wonder that such a heavy emphasis has been placed on STEM programs in our schools. Typical science class lessons are no longer enough when preparing students for success upon graduation. Spring Valley Elementary is working to ensure that their students are prepared to be stand-outs in the STEM field by amping up their STEM experiences at a young age. Though their Makers Need More Space grant provided by the Education Foundation, Spring Valley is increasing their technological and coding-based projects for their elementary students.
The MakerSpace carts are designed to be mobile STEM lessons that the entire school can share. Teachers sign up to check out the carts they would like to use, allowing all grades to integrate these interactive learning opportunities into their classrooms. In the words of Ms. Minshew and Ms. Ziegelt, the Spring Valley Employees behind the MakerSpace movement, say that the carts give students “opportunities to create, collaborate, communicate, and use critical thinking”, all of which are important lessons that go beyond just the STEM field.
The growth of the MakerSpace carts with the new technology provided by this grant has been very successful so far. The staff has seen a tremendous increase in interest from their students and love being able to learn alongside their students. The students pick up the lessons with ease and genuinely enjoy their time with the MakerSpace carts. The growth of STEM technology at Spring Valley has also helped create mentorship programs between grades, as older students are paired with younger students to help teach them the new lessons. Whether it be leadership, communication, or the actual STEM lessons themselves, the Makers Need More Space grant is helping to teach our students valuable lessons that they will carry with them throughout life.
Spring Valley Elementary is thankful for the Education Foundation’s support of this grant. The grant has been named in honor of First National Bank of Central Texas in appreciation of their long time support of the Foundation.