“In Bartow County this year, we have had a focus on STEM,” Woodland High School Principal Melissa Williams said. “... Science and math is a focus nationally now, there’s not enough engineering/science students graduating to fill the jobs that are available.”
She said, for example, through the school system’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant, WHS is taking a focus on technical reading to assist with the goals of STEM.
Math instructor Carl Willingham said one of the intentions of incorporating STEM Day at WHS was to show students how areas of STEM are used in various scenarios.
“I think the main thing is to put the focus on [STEM] so students see how it applies to different things,” Willingham said. “I think a lot of students see math as, ‘Oh, I’m a math teacher, I’m sitting behind a book,’ or ‘I’m a scientist, I’m in a lab,’ they don’t really see the connections of how they all come together into one field, so that’s what we’re trying to get the focus on so they see those four areas come together and all play an individual role.”
Inside the school’s gym, students rotated through several stations that included, for example, having students build straw bridges to measure weight as well as building safety devices around an egg placed in a makeshift car that is later launched down a ramp, giving students an opportunity to test their engineering skills.
According to www.tagonline.org, “TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), the Technology Association of Georgia’s charitable organization dedicated to preparing the next-generation workforce, is collaborating with Georgia education institutions, associations, and STEM-based companies to establish STEM Day and encourage participation in K-12 schools throughout the state.”
“Our goal is to raise awareness about STEM education and the opportunities for students in exciting STEM related careers,” Michael Robertson, executive director of TAG-Ed, said in a prepared statement. “It’s estimated that by 2018, Georgia will have approximately 211,000 STEM oriented jobs to fill, so it is crucial that our future workforce be prepared with the necessary STEM skill set.”