The STEAM TAC program, housed at WVU, helps educators across the state spark student interest and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. It works by bringing immersive experiences, like the one shown here, right into middle school classrooms.
With the return to public schools, the West Virginia Technical Assistance Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathlodged at West Virginia Universityexpands its impact and reach in its second year of immersive and hands-on learning activities.
The STEAM TAC is a statewide organization that helps West Virginia educators expand their expertise by providing engaging learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, art, and math that foster interest and the enthusiasm of the students.
In just seven months of its first year, STEAM TAC reached more than 12,300 students and 225 teachers at 109 middle schools across the state. The organization already has a wide range of school visits planned for the new school year.
“STEAM TAC has provided exceptional experiences that enhance our students’ learning in unique and creative ways,” said David L. Roach, Superintendent of State Schools. “Teachers and schools that have participated in these activities have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, and I hope more middle schools will participate this school year.”
Jamie McGee, a teacher at Philippi Middle School, is already looking forward to another STEAM experience this year.
“The STEAM TAC visit to my eighth grade science class was exceptional,” McGee said. “All my students were very involved throughout the project. They absolutely loved it. I encourage every middle school teacher to try this.
STEAM TAC specialists bring projects or immersive experiences directly into the classroom. They challenge students to design, build, and test engineering-like projects while exposing students to STEAM employment opportunities right here in West Virginia.
Students can build hydraulic claws while learning about hydropower and careers in agriculture and healthcare. They can experience kinetic energy and explore engineering careers by designing projectile launchers. They can even learn about electricity, vibration, and career opportunities in construction and manufacturing from the wiggle bot immersion experience.
“Our goal is to make the learning experience fun and accessible for students so that they build their confidence in their ability to learn and grow at a key time in their lives when they begin to think about what their future holds. their reserve,” said Donna Hoylman Pedutogeneral manager of the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative who oversees the daily operations of STEAM TAC. “They don’t know they’re also practicing marketable job skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and teamwork.”
Scott Rotruck, a member of the West Virginia Board of Education and president of WVPEC, also discussed how STEAM TAC helps empower teachers to infuse an innovative approach to learning throughout the year through additional resources provided after the immersion. These extension activities and lesson plans also follow the grade level standards of the West Virginia Department of Education.
“I have seen firsthand the enthusiasm and energy of the students when they participate in these immersions,” Rotruck said. “It’s great to see our students so engaged. But the real power of STEAM TAC is in the continuous learning resources available to our teachers. They receive the tools to integrate STEAM learning into their classroom instruction throughout the year. »
STEAM TAC is open to all public schools in West Virginia serving students in grades six through eight. Middle school educators are encouraged to sign up for Immersion through their school email accounts by visiting steamtac.wvu.edu.
Plans are also underway to expand the program to 9th and 10th graders by early 2023.
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