In Texas, the Little Elm ISD is expanding STEM initiatives in elementary school. Administrators have found that the district’s STEM program in middle and high school is successful and now they want to expand it to the younger grades.
According to district science coordinator Jennifer Bernabo, fourth and fifth graders in the 2018-2019 school year will have a STEM experience at every LEISD elementary campus. Prestwick STEM Academy already incorporates STEM in kindergarten through eighth grade. Parents have been asking for the opportunity, says Cecelia Jones, district spokeswoman.
“Ever since we brought in Prestwick and established an engineering curriculum, this is something the parents wanted,” Jones said. “This is a way to be equitable across the district.”
Bernabo says that an elementary STEM curriculum could involve coding and operating a robot.
“We want to teach the engineering process and how to solve the problem in a realistic way,” Bernabo said. She says that there will be obstacles for students to overcome.
“We’ll teach kids perseverance and grit,” she said. “They will fail at some point. The motor won’t work, and they’ll have to figure out why. This helps them problem solve, get creative and not give up.”