There is a great need in schools to nurture a love for math and science. These subjects tend to be hard for students. If the learning experience is not enjoyable, students lose interest in the subject and view it as something to simply get through.
The Yankelovich Fellowship Project titled "STEM" will engage students of Olean Middle School with St. Bonaventure University students in creating a program for experiencing science and math as interesting and enjoyable.
STEM will be an after-school club consisting of demonstrations that will bring abstract concepts to a very concrete level and make them accessible for students who may struggle with abstract concepts. Demonstrations will also serve as enrichment opportunities for students who are interested in math and science because it allows them to take what they learn in the classroom a step further. The topics for demonstration will be chosen based on the concepts presented on tests, thus becoming a test prep program.
One of the most important components of this club is the interaction between the middle school students and the college students who will be teaching them. This program allows college students the chance to work with middle school students and help them to love math and science as much as they do. St. Bonaventure students of all majors will be welcomed into the program. It will give students majoring in elementary education a chance to practice their lesson-planning skills and gain more experience in the classroom.
The partnership between Olean Middle School and St. Bonaventure University as a result of this program is one that will, hopefully, continue long after the creators of this project are graduated.
Our main hope for this program is that it will encourage students to choose science and math tracks in high school and help students see the practical applications of what they learn in the classroom.