By Mt. Zion Student Improvement Council for The Island Connection
It’s no surprise that students have more fun and retain information better when they are connecting circuits to build a robot, mixing vinegar and baking soda to explode a model volcano, and calculating the distance to catapult a ball. Hands-on learning is at the core of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program, and the concepts taught spur interest in the nation’s fastest growing and most lucrative career sectors.
This environment of real-world problem solving, collaboration, creativity and innovation is something Mt. Zion Elementary School hopes to implement for the benefit of all 280 students in the 2019-2020 school year. School leadership, the School Improvement Council (SIC) and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) are working together to raise funds to build an interactive STEM SmartLab and implement the powerful STEM curriculum and activities.
To show the community, students and teachers how fun and effective STEM learning can be, the school is hosting a STEM Festival on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This fair is loaded with action. Kids will get to enjoy three different STEM-related activities like a laser maze, coding challenge and a robot challenge. Several students will present results of recently completed STEM experiments and prizes will be awarded. There will be a bounce house, performance by Soulfully Creative Kids and a DJ. The PTA plans to sell hot dogs, lemonade, popcorn, take-home chicken dinners and more. Special guests Sandy Tecklenburg and Sonya Stephens of ABC News 4 will be in attendance.
All community members are invited to attend the festival to learn more about Mt. Zion and see the impact a STEM program could have on the education of our students. Implementing the STEM SmartLab and curriculum at the school is a roughly $160,000 start-up investment, yet the lessons will fuel student learning for years to come.
A hands-on STEM education is not only proven to boost test scores and learning retention, but it also sets the foundation for future success in a STEM career. STEMrelated jobs, like computer programming, informatics and engineering generate wages that average 93% above the national average wage, and roughly double the income of non-STEM occupations. Our students deserve these incredible opportunities.
Kiawah Cares is currently fundraising on behalf of the Mt. Zion Elementary School, and acting as a fiscal agent, to fund the $160,000 STEM program. To join this incredible education effort, visit KiawahCares.org/stem to learn more or donate.