STEM education? Why, it's elementary!

Posted at: 05/09/2014 7:29 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2014 11:17 PM
By: WNYT Staff

ALBANY - When we talk about courses that engage students in science, technology, engineering and math, we're usually talking about high school or college.

However, at Mater Christi School in Albany, they believe when it comes to STEM, the earlier - the better.

In one classroom, third graders came up with the idea to transport goods in a make-believe potato chip factory. However, this make believe project is giving some students real-world experience.

“We had a few problems, so we have to try and find the problems and fix them,” explained student Grace Ustin.

Teacher Bridget Fratianni says getting it right the first time isn’t the goal.

“In fact if it doesn’t work at all, that’s even better, because they’ll go back to the drawing board,” said Fratianni.

“Most of the programs are focused on the high school,” explained Don Wiesenforth, a board member. “There wasn’t a lot focused on K-8.”

In a second grade class, students are studying geometry so they can construct bridges. However, math and engineering aren't the only lessons Teacher Meghan Taylor says the kids are learning.

“They’re becoming problem solvers, critical thinkers-working together in small groups and partners,” said Taylor.

“You have to listen to everyone’s ideas and be patient,” said student Justin Higgins.