Talk to any of the 7th grade students in Ms. Weatherford’s class at Latta Middle School and right off bat you feel the since of excitement.
“It’s cool because you get to shape stuff; you get to decide what happens. I mean you not just learning stuff that’s already happened, you get to decide what’s happening yourself and that makes you feel powerful,” mentioned, 7th grade student Samuel Howell.
“It’s fun because my favorite subject is math and we get to do math instead of all the other stuff,” added 7th grader Miracle Burgess.
What they are referring to is their “Project Lead the Way” design and modeling class.
It’s an opportunity for students to apply the design process to solve problems and it’s all a part of stem learning.
“Oh yes! Because I had to go through the training and I was stressed out through the training.”
STEM teacher Stephanie Weatherford would say so.
“They want to do it. So if they get frustrated you just redirect it and smooth over the frustration,” explained Weatherford.
Just last year the Obama administration invested $3.1 billion dollars in federal programs on stem education.
STEMconnector.org projects by 2018, more than 8 million workers will be needed for stem related jobs.
The U.S. Department of Education reports only 16 percent of high school seniors are interested in these STEM careers.
However, it’s an investment that has Latta Middle School all in.
On Thursday, Latta Middle School was presented with a $20,000 Verizon Innovate Learning Grant.
“It’s amazing what we are going to be able to do with the money,” mentioned Weatherford.
Latta Middle is one of 80 public schools nationwide to receive a $20,000 Verizon Innovate Learning Grant.
The school will use the money to add a robotics program.