Watson Chronicle

WATSON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Programs for P-12 Students

STEM LC Delivers STEM Kits to Schools in SE NC

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

For the past six years, WCE’s STEM Learning Cooperative has offered STEM events, including activities designed for individuals with disabilities, as part of the North Carolina Science Festival.

This year, the team focused on creating STEM kits for students in grades K-8. The kits contained STEM books and materials, with lesson plans and video instructions adapted for students with disabilities. A total of 555 STEM kits were distributed to schools in 14 counties in April.

Angie Reid-Griffin, Amy Moody, Heddy Clark and Gianna Geiss collaborated on the project, with support from students at Heide Trask High School. Reid-Griffin is a professor and coordinator of the Junior Seahawk Academy; Moody is a professor and director of WCE’s Center for Assistive Technology; Clark is director of WCE’s STEM LC, interim director of CESTEM and executive director of STEM SENC, and Geiss is an administrative associate for the STEM LC and CESTEM.

“The goal of the project was to provide culturally relevant, literacy-based, STEM kits to children, many of whom are students with disabilities. The kits support students’ learning and help them to develop a STEM mindset towards learning,” Clark said. “Our STEM LC members are always happy to collaborate with school partners on initiatives designed to recruit, maintain and increase youths’ interest in STEM.” 

Moody and Reid-Griffin designed eight kits for elementary and middle-school age children, and partnered with Clark and Geiss to secure materials needed for them. Each kit contained a book and corresponding STEM activity. Examples included Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss with materials to create green slime eggs; Sasha Savvy Loves to Code by Sasha Ariel Alston with materials to create Morse Code name necklaces; and Roll, Slope and Slide by Michael Dahl with materials to build a skate park.

WCE partnership teachers Jessica Croson and Chelsea Ash and high school students from Heide Trask High School complied some of the kits and created video instructions to accompany the books, materials and lesson plans. The participating students are members of HTHS’s Science Olympiad Team and part of a collaborative effort with UNCW’s Jr Seahawk Academy to promote a STEM mindset in their high school and with youth in the community.

Mini-grant awards from the Watson College and WCE’s Office of Engagement, Professional Learning, and Scholarship provided funding for the project.

“This was a true collaborative effort to enhance STEM learning for students with disabilities,” Moody said. “I was proud to be a part of such a hardworking, innovative and generous team!”

For more information on Watson’s STEM Learning Cooperative, visit the STEM LC website.