About the STEM Materials Center
To generate excitement about STEM, it is essential to provide students with real-world, relevant learning opportunities to explore phenomenon and design solutions to problems. The STEM Materials Center provides science kits and professional development on how to use them effectively in the classroom for 27 school districts and over 2,000 teachers within the Southwest Washington region. With over 45,000 students utilizing these programs, we facilitate 4,500 science kits, as well as science and math education literature to participating schools each year.
What are Science Kits?
Elementary and middle schools served by the materials center receive “science kits” that are developed by nationally recognized leaders in science materials development which include the Lawrence Hall of Science / University of California, Berkeley and the Smithsonian Institutions amongst them. These science kits use research on how students learn best to provide a coherent set of inquiry-based investigations leading to development of core science principles and concepts. Having the science materials and teacher’s guide come in a kit make hands-on science teaching more manageable and doable for a lot of teachers. Teachers and students can now look forward to learning science together instead of reading about science. These science kits stimulate interest in science and lead to enduring science learning experiences and understanding of the natural world.
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. During the ESD112 STEM_tastic Summer Science Symposium, teachers receive instructional strategies that give them confidence to teach each kit at their grade level, as well as the option of choosing from multiple strands to customize their professional learning experience. The STEM Materials Center conducts an average of 150 workshops/year for about 1,500 teachers served by the center.
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.