It may seem surprising, but online games prepare students for actual STEM careers.

Soft SkillsLearning Blade is an online program with a game based format which engages students in STEM subjects, allowing them to choose a wide variety of activities which feature over 100 different careers and technologies.

“It gives you a lot of real-life situations,” said Marlea Maddox, an eighth grader at Signal Mountain Middle School.

Marlea used Newton’s laws of motion to calculate the force on a train when it travels at certain speeds.

Chattanooga entrepreneurs Shelia and Dane Boyington developed Learning Blade, which is being used in most of Hamilton County, Tennessee’s middle schools and over 525 schools across the state.  Learning Blade is now available to any Tennessee middle school at no cost, thanks to the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

According to Shelia Boyington, the program was developed to meet a need to fill well paying STEM jobs.  “This program exposes them to those jobs,” she said.  She says that getting kids interested in STEM fields at a young age is a great way to strengthen the workforce over the long term.

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