Measuring the Impact: Celebrating National STEM Day with IDEA Bridge

“STEM is all around us. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators.” – Shaddaiia Wilson, 6th grade Pre-AP Science Teacher and Grade Team Leader, IDEA Bridge College Prep 

November 8 is National STEM Day! IDEA Public Schools is invested in a joyful, rigorous curriculum that embraces strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills for success in college and career. These incredible subjects help push our society forward – promoting innovation, investigation, growth, problem solving and critical thinking – toward the future we want. 

What does National STEM Day mean for our campuses? We connected with Shaddaiia Wilson, 6th grade PreAP Science Teacher and Grade Team Leader at IDEA Bridge College Prep, Kierra Malveaux, 5th grade math teacher at IDEA Bridge Academy, and two scholars, Aalayiah Womack, 6th grader at IDEA Bridge College Prepand Ja’toria Phillips, 5th grader at IDEA Bridge Academy, to talk about the importance of STEM education and why it matters so deeply to them. 

Shaddaiia Wilson6th grade Pre-AP Science Teacher and Grade Team Leader 

IDEA Bridge College Prep 

 

Kierra Malveaux, 5th Grade Math Teacher 

IDEA Bridge Academy 

Why is STEM education important to you? 

Wilson: STEM education is important because STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. I aspire to inspire my scholars to strive for excellence, to excel as trendsetters, and to accomplish their goals despite obstacles and challenges they may face along the way. 

Malveaux: STEM education is important to me personally and professionally. I have always been in the STEM field. STEM allows for students and adults to become critical thinkers and sets the foundations to ask open-ended questions. It involves a more hands-on approach for individuals to become leaders of the world, advancing and inventing new strategies for our country. Being a teacher, I always push to incorporate STEM in the early grades because it helps to foster a love of learning, especially in the science and math fields (where research shows that most individuals have difficulty in these subjects). If I can help develop my students from thinkers to “doers,” we can help close the gap, and we can begin to solve any crises that may come our way, such as COVID-19. 

 

What are some ways that students can get involved with STEM inside & outside of the classroom? 

WilsonSTEM is all around us. Scholars have access to a quality STEM education right here at IDEA Bridge College Prep! In the classroom, I pride myself on giving scholars the ability to design, create and implement their scientific ideas. Outside of the classroom, scholars can visit science museums, the LIGO observatory, or even YouTube, to create their own STEM experiments. 

Malveaux: Technology is all around us. I have many students who are at home research how to build bridges out of popsicle sticks or straws to determine the durability of each. Some may even simulate an oil spill and the effects on an environment. There are so many ways students can explore their creativity and develop research questions to test different theories based on their imagination. That is the beauty of the STEM field. The same process can go for students inside of the classroom. Teachers must get creative in allowing their students to become “teachers” themselves and help facilitate learning amongst other students by generating questions, testing theories, and asking that big question: WHY? 

 

How does your campus promote STEM education to students? 

Wilson: Here at IDEA Bridge College Prep, we promote STEM education through our rigorous curriculum which creates a student-centered learning environment in which students investigate and engineer solutions to problems and construct evidence-based explanations of real-world phenomena. We have constant discussions on how our science units pertain to their career goals and what steps I can take as their teacher to assist them to and through college to attain their career goal. 

MalveauxIDEA Bridge allows their teachers to engage in field lessons with their students, where they can get a hands-on approach that is directly related to cross-curricular content areas. Also, we have different science labs where students engage in STEM activities to help deepen their knowledge while applying math, technology, and engineering skills. STEM impacts our lives on a daily basis, and IDEA Bridge is committed to increasing and expanding love and knowledge of STEM by pushing students to and through college. 

 

Why is it important for young women and girls to learn about STEM careers? 

Wilson: It is very important for young women and girls to learn about STEM because it gives them the opportunity to shape our world and job stability in an increasingly tech-focused marketplace. 

Malveaux: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make up 48% of the total workforce but only represent 26% of STEM jobs. Why is that? By pushing girls at a young age and commending them for being achievers in the STEM fields, we can build an overwhelming sense of confidence and bravery in them to enter these fields. They are so used to hearing, Boys are supposed to be better in math and science. I would like to develop a STEM group for young girls at IDEA Bridgjust like the one I was a mentor for in college at McNeese State University. It will help girls know that we too can do anything we put our mind to if we work hard and believe in ourselves. 

  

Aalayjah Womack, 6th grade scholar 

IDEA Bridge College Prep 

Ja’Toria Phillips, 5th grade scholar 

IDEA Bridge Academy 

 

What STEM career are you interested in? 

WomackOne STEM career I’m most interested in is becoming a heart surgeon. 

Phillips: The stem career I’m interested in doing is technology because I will know all about how laptops, phones, tablets and how other devices work. 

  

Why is STEM education important to you? 

Womack: The reason why STEM education is important to me because STEM will help me in my career goal as a heart surgeon. I will have to take courses on different sciences and pass them. It is important that I pass those classes because I will be responsible for patients who are in a life or death situation. I want to be ready to save lives. 

Phillips: STEM education is important to me because science helps me understand how plants and animals grow and how energy works. Technology helps me learn about how electronics work. Engineering helps me learn how to keep the lights on. Math helps me count money. 

 

If you were going to encourage one of your friends to learn more about STEM, what would you say to them? 

WomackIf I were to encourage a friend about STEMI would tell them about all of the opportunities that STEM has to offer. Also, the cool projects and virtual field trips we can participate in! 

PhillipsIf I was to encourage one of my friends to learn about STEM, I would say, Heyyou should learn about STEM – STEM means science, technology, engineering and math, and it sounds fun!

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