“Making STEM Connections” in and out of classrooms

Making STEM Connections at Milford Memorial Library
Milford Memorial Library in Northwest Iowa helps students explore their “inner-tinkerer” through “Making STEM Connections,” a program on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program menu.

STEM learning often takes place beyond school classrooms. Other outstanding venues where kids learn STEM include museums, camping trips with their scout troop, at the zoo or on a 4-H outing and certainly among the book stacks at libraries.

“What we like most about ‘Making STEM Connections’ is the ability it has given us to expand our programming and bring more students into the library,” said Gillian Anderson, assistant director of Milford Memorial Library.

Anderson’s library is one of hundreds of valuable Iowa STEM partners known as informal or out-of-school groups, charged with carrying the STEM message beyond the school day.

This “STEM for all” focus is key when building the menu for the STEM Scale-Up Program, ensuring that opportunities exist for both formal and informal educators to bring great STEM to youth. The Science Center of Iowa’s (SCI) “Making STEM Connections,” a program on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program menu, is one that both schools and informal learning environments thrive on.

Anderson leads the program at her library in Northwest Iowa the third Wednesday of every month. The library is one of 175 organizations—both schools and informals—in the state to receive the program through the STEM Scale-Up Program. With the help of more than 430 educators trained this summer, students awaken their “inner-tinkerers” to build STEM skills.

“A classroom using ‘Making STEM Connections’ might have students learning how to fuse plastics to create textiles or assemble an art-bot using a DC motor and batteries,” said Renee Harmon, vice president of science learning at SCI. “’Making STEM Connections’ is structurally supported by cross-curricular experiences and opportunities, including literacy and mathematics, to reinforce the maker foundation of active learning and problem solving.”

Click Making STEM Connections to learn more about the program or visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Scale-Up. Otherwise, educators can mark their calendars for the 2017-18 application, opening Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

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