Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math can be a challenge for any teacher.
Yet some of the teachers at DeKalb West School will have a new tool for four days next week to ignite their students’ interest, the STEMmobile.
The STEMmobile is scheduled to arrive Friday and will be there for teachers and students to make use of during the four days of school next week, January 20-23. "Next week, the four days of school our third through eighth grade will be able to go there and do some science, technology, and math activities with our science teachers. We're going to incorporate that with our third through eighth grades along with some of our after school programs" said DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler during Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.
The STEMmobile is a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school children. The mobile classroom brings technology to the doorsteps of schools, and the students have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them to learn about STEM topics in creative and hands-on ways.
This is the second STEMmobile visit to DeKalb West School and it will be open to the public on Sunday, January 25 from 2-3 p.m.
The STEMmobile is a one-of-a-kind product of the Oakley STEM Center and Tennessee Tech University as part of the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a grant project funded by Tennessee’s First to the Top program. UCRSI is part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, where the mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.
The UCRSI project includes STEM platform schools in Putnam County and a hub school selected by each participating county or school district to become more focused on STEM learning. UCRSI also has a STEM Hub, the Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. The
UCRSI Hub represents a partnership between the 21 school districts, three post-secondary institutions and 11 STEM-related or innovative businesses and non-profit organizations committed to supporting STEM education.
UCRSI’s goal is to tackle the unique challenges of enhancing STEM education for younger learners in mostly rural areas, and to create innovative and collaborative solutions to these challenges.
Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEMmobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. The classroom on wheels is stocked with equipment from the Oakley STEM Center and includes equipment and supplies for activities for each grade level.
The Oakley STEM Center also has a lending library of STEM instructional materials to partially equip the STEMmobile and classroom kits for STEM subjects are on board, ready to go. The trailer is moved from site to site by Averitt Express, Inc., which has sponsored a significant portion of the transportation costs for the school year.
The STEMmobile is designed to help students learn more about three core STEM themes particularly relevant to rural students: water, with a focus on its importance, usage and conservation; energy, which highlights how power is generated, ways to lower consumption, green energy and long-term energy needs; and my food, my body, my health, which helps students learn more about agriculture, health, nutrition and physical fitness.