As the 2012-2013 school year approaches, Powerful Schools is getting CURIOUS!
We all know kids are curious. In fact, Powerful Schools’ most popular after-school classes are often STEM themed. Some of these include: Wacky Science, Herbal Potions and How Airplanes Fly and Boats Float. We LOVE that moment when a student makes a discovery. You can practically see the light bulb go off and their imaginations open to even bigger and deeper questions.
With the support of Washington STEM, Powerful Schools aims to harness the power of this curiosity and continue building upon it during the impressionable 4th and 5th grade years. We believe, with this project, we will help change the whole school’s perception around STEM. Through student driven activities, that make STEM fun, and with students also having mentoring from STEM professionals that look like them, they will vastly increase their interest in STEM related study and future fields of study.
Over the last couple of years, Powerful Schools has had more and more conversations with many of our school partners about how we can support their interest and efforts to increase STEM participation and achievement among their students. Powerful Schools believes our strengths are in connecting students and families to an array of non-traditional learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, instead of the traditional approach of teaching curriculum to the test.
Washington STEM’s entrepreneur award will help us pilot our efforts to leverage the natural curiosity of elementary aged students to build strong STEM cultures at schools with high populations of low-income children. This approach could possibly be replicated at elementary schools (Title 1) with high populations of low income students throughout Washington State, transforming them into healthy and strong STEM centers of learning.
Over the next two months Powerful Schools will be working closely with Beacon Hill International School, a diverse public elementary school located in South Seattle, with a 65% free/reduced lunch rate, to launch our pilot “Curiosity Club”. Our intent is to change the conversation around STEM by leveraging the natural curiosity of elementary-aged students, who will lead a school-wide effort to encourage enthusiasm around asking questions and discovering answers. Powerful Schools will staff the club and leverage new and existing connections in the community to identify volunteers from the STEM field to help students identify and explore issues that interest them through hands-on experiments and projects.
We are excited to start this journey and hope you will join us! Check back soon for updates as the “Curiosity Club” takes shape!