Last week, the Indiana Department of Education announced recipients of the first ever kindergarten through sixth-grade STEAM Acceleration Grant.
Southwest Allen County School was one of 11 grant recipients statewide. The grant helps schools focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEAM.
Jeanine Kleber is the principal at Haverhill Elementary School, and says they are blessed to be a recipient of the grant.
In their grant application, SACS proposed a partnership with The Smithsonian Institution to help educators teach innovation. Kleber says, in part, the grant will help with the funding.
“Our partnership with them is to take teachers from Southwest Allen up to D.C. to the lap there at the Smithsonian and they are going to train the teachers becoming facilitators,” said Kleber.
The Indiana Department of Education will fund the grants during the 2018- 2019 school year. The department hopes this will help improve elementary students’ achievement and participation in STEM subjects.
Kleber says they hope the students will become 21st century learners, problem solvers and part of the global economy.
“We still are teaching reading and we are still teaching mathematics, but STEM is a great way to take all of their knowledge and give them a starting point and make it real world,” said Kleber.
One project school educators are trying to implement is a “makerspace” where students are presented with a problem and are provided with minimal supplies. Students then need to find a solution. Usually after some trial and error. This is the type of hands-on learning Kleber hopes to continue implementing at SACS schools.
Kleber adds research shows students learn from mistakes and the “makerspace” will help students learn.
“One of the things that is most powerful, is it allows kids to fail and that sometimes doesn’t happen when it’s such a structured environment. Mistakes are powerful,” said Kleber.
Kleber says parents have been supportive. In the past they have provided materials and household items that student can use while working on their “makerspace” projects.