STEM Materials Center

STEM Materials Center2020-03-06T14:20:21-08:00

K–8 standards–based science kits and resources to create a lifelong interest in STEM.

About

About the STEM Materials Center

High-quality STEM learning helps students construct the knowledge and practice the skills needed to develop STEM literacy. STEM literacy allows students to engage with their world with an inquisitive mind and with the confidence to make their world a better place. This opens numerous doors of opportunity for students. The STEM Materials Center provides science kits and NGSS-aligned curriculum for 17 school districts, 4 private schools, and about 586  teachers within the Southwest Washington region. With over 13,000 students utilizing these programs, we facilitate the use of 1,300 science kits. Our kits are intended to support teachers with implementing hands-on activities while our accompanying STEM Storylines strive to support teachers in fostering deep learning and student empowerment in the classroom.

What are Science Kits and STEM Storylines?

Our STEM kits include a set of hands-on lab materials and are accompanied by locally developed curriculum units called “STEM Storylines” that support teachers with lesson plans, slide shows, videos, book readings, articles, and other activities that can help teachers integrate STEM with other content areas. We understand the pressures that elementary educators face and hope to provide activities that allow STEM to be integrated with ELA, Social Studies, Arts, and Mathematics. Embedded in these storylines are areas where the hands-on materials (for labs, investigations, and experiments) can be pulled into the flow of learning to help students investigate a STEM concept through their own tangible experience. Through the weaving of discussion, real-world connections, local STEM-related problems, hands-on experiments, and through a student-centered orientation, we hope that students experience STEM that is empowering, relevant, and sets them on the path toward lifelong curiosity and respect for their environment and the living things that inhabit it.

Professional Development

Professional development is offered to teachers in August of every year to give them experience with the core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts of the Next Generation Science Standards in each kit, as well as experience with managing the materials. We also provide various courses throughout the year that support the emerging needs of our partners. If you are in need of STEM clock hours, please check out some of our asynchronous courses that are offered asynchronously online.

Our Mission

The STEM Materials Center delivers hands-on science kits and resources efficiently, punctually and in good condition to every classroom participating in the Partnership for Elementary Science Education of Southwest Washington. Our goal is to make science more meaningful, stimulating and interesting by providing teachers with the tools to put the process of scientific inquiry back into learning.

Science Kits

Science Kit Services, Schedule & Delivery

Science Kit Services

The STEM Materials Center provides science kits to grades K through 5, focusing primarily on K through 6. Each grade level receives three kits per year to cover three basic science strands: physical, earth and life. The STEM kits come from a variety of sources including national publishers (i.e. FOSS, STC, BBS) as well as other open educational resources.

Science Kit Schedule

Science kits are distributed on a schedule so that every class in a given school/district is studying the same strand of science at the same time. Ideally, science kits are used three times each school year so that students have the opportunity to engage in activities and learning around each of the three science strands.  

The kit rotation schedule is designed so that a kit spends a minimum of 9-10 weeks in classrooms and 14 working days in the STEM Materials Center for cleaning and replenishment. The kit replenishment schedule is staggered so that transportation and replenishment of kits do not cause production bottlenecks. We appreciate your diligence in getting kits ready to be returned by the pick-up dates so that we can ensure that we have enough time for restocking and cleaning.

Kit Transportation

Science kit distribution and pickup for school buildings is facilitated by the STEM Materials Center. Science kits are staged (prepared for delivery) by the school district, school building, science strand (physical, earth, and life), and kit title. Kits are delivered/picked up by a contract carrier to each individual building. Science kits weigh from 20 to 50 pounds each. The STEM Materials Center has 1,300 science kits in stock.

Critters

Saying Goodbye to Critters in STEM Kits

ESD 112 STEM Kits will no longer support the use of critters in the classroom. In March of 2020, our SMC Advisory Committee approved the phasing out of critters in the classroom and supported the switch to more authentic outdoor STEM. Due to changing state regulations and concerns about invasive or non-native species being released into the wild, we were pressed to cease our critter program for grades K-5. We are in the process of changing materials in the kits to reflect the absence of critters and substituting them with other materials and resources. At the moment, many of our critter materials (ex. Enclosures and containers) are still included in our kits in case teams would like to order their own critters. Here is the website we recommend in case you would like to order your own: Carolina Website-Living Organisms

We hope that you will join us in exploring other opportunities to support our students with high-quality and engaging STEM learning by empowering them to make sense of local phenomena that present an authentic problem for them to solve. Our STEM Storylines hope to provide support for educators to create fun and rigorous experiences for students that help them dig deeper into science ideas and to develop STEM literacy. You will see lots of opportunities in the STEM storylines to engage students in learning outdoors and to learn from nature while engaging with the critters in your local ecosystem.

Please check out this Goodbye Critters Info sheet below for more information and replacement activities for formerly critter-heavy kits to support this transition.

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Critter Resources

Life Science Critters

If you have any questions or special requests please contact:

Serena Decator

STEM Materials Specialist

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3434

Email: serena.decator@esd112.org

FAQ

Science Kit FAQ

Q: When do science kits come to my room?

Find your school district and building delivery schedule. In general:

Kits arrive at School Kits return to STEM Materials Center
Early September – at the beginning of the school year Early December
Early January – just after Winter Break Mid March
Mid-April – just after Spring Break Mid June – after school is out

Q: What if kit parts get broken?

There is a bag for broken/worn/damaged parts. If a part comes broken contact us for a replacement.

Serena Decator

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3434

Email: serena.decator@esd112.org

Shannon Foley

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3426

Email: shannon.foley@esd112.org

Q: Do I really have to inventory all the parts in each kit?

Yes. Student or parent helpers can make this task easier. The STEM Materials Centerstaff inventory every kit before the next rotation which means checking close to half a million parts in a three week period. The more organized you and other teachers return kits the more likely you receive a complete and organized kit in the next rotation.

Q: When is professional development for science?

Each August, the ESD hosts the STEM-tastic Summer Science Symposium, which allows teachers to get all their science training in 3 days. Other professional development is available throughout the year, at the request of the district.

Who to Contact for Help:

Science Leadership Teacher (SLT):
Found in your building, this person is the most accessible ‘go to’ person

Grade Level Team:
Ask a grade level team member who has already been trained for assistance.

Training Questions: 

Niki Johnston

Contact

Email: niki.johnston@esd112.org

Resources

NGSS Support Guides by Grade Level

Contacts

Staff Contact Information

Please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance!

Vickei Hrdina

Director of Career Readiness & STEM Initiatives

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3427

Email: vickei.hrdina@esd112.org

Stacy Meyer

Science Coordinator

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3423

Email: stacy.meyer@esd112.org

Shannon Foley

Kit Assembler II

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3426

Email: shannon.foley@esd112.org

Pranjali Upadhyay

Integrated Curriculum Specialist

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3324

Email: pranjali.upadhyay@esd112.org

Niki Johnston

Secretary II

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3431

Email: niki.johnston@esd112.org

Serena Decator

STEM Materials Specialist

Contact

Phone: 360-952-3434

Email: serena.decator@esd112.org

STEM Materials Center News

Includes the latest on kit updates to contact information:

Advisory Committee

STEM Materials

Easily access our high-quality instructional materials to support implementation of the NGSS standards. Open source units are available for use in your classroom!

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