FAIRMONT, Va. (WV News) – Schools in Marion County are renovating the basement of the former East Fairmont Middle School to create a STEAM room, which will complement student education with hands-on learning and experiences.
So far, the county has spent around $ 300,000 on the project, a process that has been made less expensive by the county using its own maintenance staff for the construction.
When complete, the STEAM room is expected to accommodate the county’s fifth to eighth graders for week-long and half-day classes in which they will learn science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, according to the superintendent. Dr Donna Hage.
“We’re excited to make this a state-of-the-art facility focused on personalized learning, exposing students to careers and exploring things they may not previously have been available to do or were aware of.” , Hage said.
Margie Suder, the county STEAM instructor, is ready to facilitate the operations of the program, and she noted that the schedule for the different classes has already been set.
“The program I wrote is about problem-based learning, so what I want to do is introduce children to vocational and technical education by making them discover what it will be like to be in different professions. “Suder said.
Fifth-year students will work with Suder and representatives from the West Virginia DNR on a course on ‘pest trapping’, which will involve humanly trapping robotic hamsters and learning how to properly release them into the wild. or under the care of another. .
Grade 6 students will learn about concussions and head trauma mitigation with the help of a local fitness trainer, and create âbrain hats,â which will include sensors that allow students to collect data in the classroom. real time.
Seventh grade students will learn all about earthquakes and even build their own models of skyscrapers and see if their projects have what it takes to withstand an Earth tilt or strong winds.
Finally, eighth grade students, with help from Omni Associate Architects, will build model homes, which they will then do electrical work on before âmarketing and sellingâ their designs.
âBy the time they come out of eighth grade, the idea is that they will have practical experience with the 16 career poles,â Suder said. âThey’re going to see what it’s going to be like to collect real-time data and design and market things so they get a feel for what it would be like in those professions. It’s a four-year process.
Hage said she was excited for the STEAM room to open, with hopes that renovations to the facility will be completed in the middle of the fall semester of 2021.
âThis is important because it connects them to the careers that are offered in the area and connects them and exposes them to things that may not have been seen before in a class structure,â Hage said. âWe’re looking at things that students can not only see in the STEAM lab, but can also bring them back to the classroom and make connections. It really takes problem solving to a different level and gives us the equipment and space for students to explore outside of a traditional classroom.
Suder is also ready to launch the program and she stressed the importance of having such a program that complements what the students are already doing in class.
âIt’s important because when we were growing up and going to school, we were disseminating information,â Suder said. âWell, right now kids have all the information they need on their phones in their pockets. What they need to know is how to use the information. How do they take this information and apply it and make a difference in the world? It is also very engaging with the children. It is much more convenient. …
âThey’re actually able to go through the engineering design process, and we introduce them to all professions and bring in experts. They can also learn by failure, and the experts are there to give them their opinion. It will not be a âsit and getâ. They will be the ones to explore.
Fairmont News Editor-in-Chief John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or [email protected]