Three teachers at are adopting a new American exploratory program called STEM, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
The class is available to all seventh and eighth grade students quarterly and while the computers and technology room were purchased with building technology funds already provided to the school and the lesson materials are free, there are some added costs not covered.
"One area that will be an added cost is supplies for activities — such as balsa wood and glue for building balsa wood bridges or plants for doing a photosynthesis experiment," Kimpton teacher Jake Miller said. "While this cost won't be anything extreme, we were hoping to offset these costs to continue being cost-effective for the district."
Miller and Teachers Jim Saxer and Dave Ternent are applying for grants to help pay for supplies, but they also set up an Adopt-A-Classroom, a website designed to give community businesses and community members an opportunity to support specific classrooms in their community.
Ternent and Miller have both set up profiles on the Adopt-A-Classroom site to seek donations.
"We are primarily seeking business support, not individual support as we know that the community members are already paying enough in taxes for the school district," said Miller.
Combined, the program will benefit more than 1,000 middle school students in the Stow-Munroe Falls district.
The STEM movement started more than a decade ago when the U.S. Congress began discussing the need to prepare American students for building a workforce that was strong in the four STEM disciplines, as well as innovation, 21st Century Skills (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking & Creativity) and problem-solving skills.
The two nine-week courses (seventh grade and eighth grade) will focus on instruction and activities that involve hands-on and critical thinking while combining the four STEM disciplines, often all four at once.
The classes will also focus on the Engineering Design Process.
"Some exciting hands-on activities in the first year of the course will include designing a vehicle that can travel 2-meters and building balsa wood bridges. The classes will also focus on technological skills, including making our students proficient in the use of Googles apps, primarily including Google Sketch-up and Google Docs," said Miller. " I will be teaching one of those two grades. My goal for Adopt-a-Classroom is to fund various projects in the classroom, including the purchasing of supplies for our balsa wood bridge building project and the design-a-vehicle challenge."