St. Thomas School near Seattle has concentrated on beefing up the school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for the past several years and plans to strengthen it even more in the future.
The independent private school in Medina, Wash., which has 330 students, is not alone. Makerspaces — a key element of STEM education — are popping up in classrooms and libraries across the U.S. Research from School Library Journal indicates that maker activities at elementary and middle schools increased by 4 percent from 2014 to 2017.
For its part, St. Thomas School has built two dedicated spaces to bolster STEM education, and plans to build a two-floor, state-of-the-art learning space called the Center for Leadership Innovation by 2020. It will be not only the new home for STEM education, but also a new academic program focused on leadership and innovation that aims to expose children to the skills they need in the workforce, says the center’s director, Kimberly Mecham.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.