Stemming from the Product Oriented Education (POE) concept, GISD introduced a STEM Academy in 2007 with specific focus on the field’s names in the STEM acronym – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The vertically aligned program begins at LP Waters, the district’s Pre-K campus, where students enjoy visiting a STEM lab weekly. In elementary and secondary classrooms, STEM students engage in advanced level projects and are frequently seen racing life-sized cardboard boats, constructing bridges and building electric cars from lawnmower batteries. Rather than the typical “chalk and talk” pedagogy of engineering education, product oriented activities are incorporated at every level of the STEM Academy curriculum.
STEM learning doesn’t stop at the core day, either, in that the GISD afterschool program (ACE) incorporates STEM in their afterschool and Saturday activities. STEM Saturdays offer students hands-on learning activities in Robotics, Plant Science, SpACE, Chemistry, Physics and Herpetology. Technology topics include Raspberry Pi, Promethean Table, and Web based applications such as Voice Thread.
GISD was recently awarded a math and science grant from the Texas Education Agency that will empower GISD to offer even more STEM courses to students. In partnership with the University of Texas at Tyler, the grant will allow the district to implement a professional development program focused on improving teachers’ ability to integrate reliable, scientifically-based and technology-based teaching methods into secondary curriculum.
Greenville ISD was featured statewide in the renowned Texas School Business magazine this June for the product-oriented education (POE) and STEM initiatives in the district. GISD was also recognized for the same outstanding programs in the 2012 Bragging Rights issue of Texas School Business, showing that STEM education and hands-on learning offerings have long been incorporated and used effectively in GISD classrooms.
For more information about GISD’s STEM Academy, please contact Wes Underwood, Executive Director of Secondary Education, at email@example.com.