Auburn Elementary School is excited to announce we are the recipient of a $3500 TVA STEM Classroom grant, We Live, We Learn, We Lead! Mrs. Molly Clark Turner is implementing the grant in her STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classroom. Jenny Rich from Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation and Tim Hughes from Tennessee Valley Authority visited Auburn School on Tuesday, March 23 to award Mrs. Turner the grant in a check presentation. Auburn School joined PLTW last spring, training six teachers in the K-5 Launch curriculum, which is an authentic, highly engaging, and deeper learning experience with STEM education.

Our students are innovating and demonstrating the qualities of our Logan County Profile of Success. PLTW has also released new distance learning support which allows students to participate in any capacity, in-person or virtually. With our new grant, we will be able to purchase additional PLTW modules and create supply kits for virtual and in-person students.

STEM/PLTW is a new elective at Auburn School. During virtual learning, STEM activities have been part of the Related Arts choice board. Students can choose from 8-10 STEM activities each month to complete at home. Through coordination with Auburn School FRYSC, we have supplied students with material kits as needed, and created a Fall Break STEM Challenge, with FRYC supplying the kits for students and participants had a chance to be entered to win their very own Ozobot!

STEM/PLTW class has been an amazing outlet for students to be creative, express themselves, and challenge themselves to think in new ways. Projects this year have included everything from a classic building challenge of the tallest free-standing structure with spaghetti, tape, string, and a marshmallow, to boat challenges determining buoyancy, to bridge stability and weight challenges, to coding robots to follow a parade route.

Mrs. Turner states, “One thing I love about STEM is that every student, no matter their challenges, can be successful in this class. We learn that failing is good because we can learn how to do it better next time. We learn that the first idea isn’t always the best idea. And that trying something new doesn’t have to be scary. Schools have the task of preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet, and STEM is one way to equip our students for that future. Auburn students are fortunate to have this opportunity, and I’m grateful that the school chose me to teach this class.”

Auburn School will continue to look for grant opportunities and partnerships with local businesses and community members to extend our PLTW classroom, including training and purchasing PLTW Gateway middle school modules. We look forward to continuing to create this rich curriculum of project-based learning, offering all students voice and choice. You can read more about the TVA STEM Classroom Grant program here: http://bit.ly/3oYAxaF

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