Florida District is "Sprouting STEM"


Broward County teacher Kelly Thomas teaches EiE.
Kelly Thomas and students discuss an engineering design challenge.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When Kelly Thomas became STEM Magnet Coordinator at Colbert Elementary School in Florida's Broward County Public Schools two years ago she’d never heard of EiE. “I wanted to build our program, and EiE just came up on a Google search!” she says.

The school found funding to acquire all 20 EiE units. "But without hands-on training, I wasn’t comfortable implementing it,” Thomas says. She applied for a Raytheon - EiE Teacher Scholarship to attend an EiE professional development (PD) workshop in Boston.

“I had a wonderful experience!” she says. Back at Colbert, Thomas began implementing EiE in earnest. Meanwhile, the district was awarded a $11.9 million federal Magnet Schools Assistance ProgramSprouting STEM” grant to create six magnet schools where minority and economically disadvantaged students would receive outstanding STEM education—including learning with EiE.

Thomas led workshops for every teacher at all six magnet schools; the curriculum is now reaching about 2,400 students. Meanwhile Thomas has qualified as an "EiE collaborator" and now can offer workshops to other schools and districts.

“When I was at that first Raytheon workshop, an EiE staffer said to me, ‘Science is trying to understand the world around us; engineering is trying to transform the world around us,'” Thomas says. Now she's working to transform STEM education for the students in her district.

Watch Thomas and her students tackle transportation engineering activities in EiE "Classroom Videos."

Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy®​ at the Museum of Science, Boston.

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