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 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.