School districts have begun building STEM career readiness into their elementary level curriculum, yielding impressive results.
Pleasant, South Carolina — the nurturing tech environment provided for the young students of Charleston County School District has already instilled a strong fascination in science among young students. Uniquely, the District offers its students access to a "Fab Lab"— a learning-friendly room outfitted with 3D printers, electrophoresis chambers, servo motors and more.
It may sound complicated, but the kids can handle it. Juliet Basinger, an aspiring mechanical engineer, has been utilizing this tool set to build drones and troubleshoot her next project; a robot therapy dog.
And she's only 11.
The goal of provisions such as the Fab Lab is to introduce career readiness at a developmental level; allowing students to experience their interests and to learn about skill-building. Experts have found that introducing job focused learning concepts early on can be critical to a student's success and overall well-roundedness.
Recently, as of 2018, Congress passed a newer version of the Carl D Perkins Career & Technical Education and Improvement Act, allowing school districts to spend the federal money made available to implement career education and training at the middle school level.
Thus, integrating career-preparedness resources and programs is becoming quite the thing to do. Administrations like the one in Pleasant, South Carolina are moving the needle towards better oriented STEM learners by implementing the Fab-Lab into a students peripheral.
Ultimately, early on career exploration opportunities and exposure to STEM enables students to discover their interests in a tangible and fun way. Time to get students excited about what STEM can do and motivate them to learn!