In Montville Education Association (Morris County), with a $5,000 continuation grant, educators Marisa Castronova, Cheryl Zazone and Jessica Shackil are bridging the gap between STEM education occurring at the elementary and middle school level, and narrow the STEM gender gap that exists between boys and girls. Additional students from both Robert R. Lazar Middle School and an elementary school in another district, broaden the target population to include four classrooms.
The original two classrooms continue to function as a collaborative unit while the two new classes form a new collaborative unit. Students from each group create challenges to be solved by each pairing of STEM PALS working together. All four teachers have continued contact to plan and reflect upon the students’ progress.
Students have access to technology to plan their work and video conference with their cross-district STEM PALS. Students continue to be exposed to 3-D printing technology obtained from the original grant, including learning the Tinkercad software to program the 3-D printer. Digital cameras are used to take pictures of student work sessions that can be showcased for the community.
Field trips bring STEM PALS together to experience a day of STEM-related activities at local colleges and universities, and companies that employ individuals who work in the STEM-related fields.
Additional STEM PAL opportunities are part of the school’s Leadership Character Education program.
It is the long-term goal to infuse STEM education into as many classrooms as possible with turn-key training of other professionals within the district.
Guest speakers make presentations to students throughout the year about STEM related careers.
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