STEM Program Becomes a Part of Standard Curriculum
When Menahga Public Schools started their STEM program, it was a specialist program, offered for 25 minutes to provide a prep time for other teachers. Now, the STEM program has become a part of the curriculum for every Kindergarten through 6th grade student at Menahga. Most students will tell you it’s their favorite part of their school day.
Another Way to Learn
“Some kids don’t like to do reading and math, and kids who struggle in those areas really don’t like them. So if we can motivate them because they’re going to be in programs like this, little do they know how much learning they’re actually doing,” said Jeannie Mayer, Principal at Menahga Elementary School.
“I love Ms. Lake’s class because there is tons of cool stuff. And even though there’s math, which is hard for me sometimes, I still like doing it because I feel proud when I get to see something done good,” said Brea, a second grader.
Kevin Wellen, Menahga Public Schools Principal said that the K-6 STEM program has really evened the playing field for boys and girls. It used to be if you waited until middle school to start providing STEM classes, that there would only be a few girls. Now, since STEM is offered right in the curriculum to every student, Wellen notes that boys and girls alike are getting excited about coding, building, drawing, and engineering.
Starting in preschool and Kindergarten, students learn to drive Sphero balls and robots. In first and second grade, students begin basic coding, then start building challenge courses in fourth and fifth grade. You’ll notice when you walk into the elementary school, there’s a trophy case that features projects that students have created in the STEM program so students can show off their hard work and innovation.
Chris Lake, who leads the STEM curriculum, says that she’s seen students change their perspective because of STEM. “It used to be that when something didn’t work it was failure,” she said. “But now they’re realizing no, just go back and repeat your steps and get better.”
MREA honored Menahga Public Schools as a 2021 Innovation Program Award Winner for their innovation, collaboration and unwavering commitment to get results for their students. Learn more about Innovation Awards.