STEM Mobile visits Pickett K-8
Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math, STEM subjects, can be a challenge for any teacher. Yet some of the teachers at Pickett County K-8 have recently had a new tool to ignite their students’ interest: the STEM mobile.
The STEM mobile is a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school children in 20 Tennessee counties, including Pickett County. This mobile classroom brings much-needed 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.
“We were very excited to have a mobile facility for our teachers and students to enhance our academic program,” said Kenny Tompkins, Principal PCK-8.
The STEM mobile 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, whose mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.
Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEM mobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. The trailer will be moved from site to site by Averitt Express, Inc., which is sponsoring a significant portion of the transportation costs for the 2013-2014 school year.
Lead teachers from Pickett County K-8, Lisa Suiter and Elizabeth Johnson, were ready to make the most of the STEM mobile, guiding students through math and science. The moving lab will spend one week at each of the 20 schools it will visit by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
“ This STEM mobile opened the opportunity for Mrs. Elizabeth and I to integrate Math and Science. I also enjoyed working with the younger students that visited the mobile lab,” stated Mrs. Suiter, 6th Grade Math Teacher.
“I was very encouraged when my students where able to build circuits and explore other aspects of electricity, which is a huge standard in 6th grade. The STEM mobile also provided materials that I do not have in my classroom. I also enjoyed working with all students Pre-K thru 8th grade that visited the mobile while at our school. It was a great learning experience for all parties involved, stated Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson, 5th and 6th grade Science Teacher.
For more information about the STEM mobile, please go to www.ucrsi.org or call the TTU Oakley STEM Center at (931) 372-6573.