The UALR STEM Center has been awarded a $6,150 grant from the Arkansas STEM Coalition to provide new science equipment for two elementary schools in Central Arkansas.
Keith Harris, Science Instructional Specialist for the UALR STEM Center, will lead the efforts to integrate the equipment into select third through sixth grade classrooms. Stephens Elementary School in Little Rock and Pinewood Elementary School in Jacksonville will receive these learning tools and the professional development training that accompanies them, provided by Harris.
The Arkansas STEM Coalition awarded this Commitment to Excellence Grant as part of its initiative to encourage STEM learning in Arkansas elementary schools. The classrooms will receive microscope slides, activity cards, electrical circuit kits, rocks and minerals, safety goggles, scales, and more, with each school getting the specific items that most benefit its programs.
Both schools have been identified as needing improvement, and the equipment provided by the grant will build up their inquiry-based science curriculums. As a result, Harris hopes that the students will feel more prepared for both the required standardized tests and their future studies. “The main objective of this program,” Harris stated in the proposal, “is to increase student interest in and performance on assessments in all content areas.”
Additionally, through professional development sessions, UALR STEM Center staff will ensure that the participating teachers are fully equipped to implement these new tools in their classrooms. UALR staff will also visit the classrooms to model the enhanced lessons and experiments. The grant funding will fill a major gap for these students and teachers, helping both excel in the STEM field.