Athens State University’s STEM Learning Lab will be receiving vital technological upgrades thanks to a significant donation from Northrop Grumman. Their donation will allow for the purchase of a smart board, robotics, coding tools, and STEM materials to better prepare pre-service teachers for the classroom.
The STEM Learning Lab is designed to allow teacher candidates a hands-on approach for teaching STEM and ensures that they are ready for the challenges they will face once they enter the classroom. Athens State trains pre-service teachers how to take STEM exploration beyond a set lesson, teaching them how to guide their future students as they develop problem solving skills, develop their individual skills, explore options, and cooperation with other students. While teacher candidates are in the lab, they take part in demonstrating lessons and strategies they will use during their internship and future careers.
Athens State University understands the importance of engaging children in active STEM learning at an early age. When children engage in exploration based STEM learning, it improves their critical thinking skills, higher-order thinking skills, problem solving, and perseverance for completing a task. “Early exposure to engineering and technology programs will help create an environment for student collaboration, hands-on STEM, and an opportunity to engage with real-world engineers, providing a glimpse of what a career in STEM could look like, especially for underrepresented minorities,” said Dr. Erica Hopkins, K-12 STEM and Workforce Development Lead at Northrop Grumman.
“Northrop Grumman has provided our College of Education teacher candidates a new and exciting learning opportunity with their support of our STEM lab,” said Dr. Marla Williams, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at Athens State University. “I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to develop and promote STEM learning at Athens State University for our K-6 teacher candidates. STEM exploration works wonders for the minds of children, specifically in the areas of problem-solving, trial-and-error, and collaboration. I am very thankful to Northrop Grumman for their support and for providing our teacher candidates access to STEM educational tools and lessons.”
“The College of Education is excited about the impact this STEM classroom will have on our teacher candidates and their ability to engage students in hands-on, collaborative scientific investigations,” said Dr. Lee Vartanian, Dean of the College of Education at Athens State University. “We thank Northrop Grumman for their commitment to high quality science and math education through their support of this engaging STEM lab.”
Northrop Grumman’s donation will provide the technology and supplies needed to allow Athens State to update the STEM Learning Lab and provide hands-on training and experience to an estimated 1,000 teacher candidates and early in-service teachers over five years.