AMERICAN FORK, Utah — Friday morning felt like Christmas for a group of students at an American Fork elementary school.
Sixth-graders at Forbes Elementary received a trailer full of STEM teaching tools, games, and books that include a 3-D printer, a VR system, an earthquake simulator, plastic animals, volcano kits, golf balls, solar car kits, percussion drums, tuning forks and working wind, solar, and hydro-powered models and others.
The trailer is called a “SEEdPOD” and it’s part of a new STEM K-6 curriculum in development at Utah Valley University. The "SEEd" in the name "SEEdPOD" stands for Science and Engineering Education.
“[We want students] to get more involved in the STEM careers and so, we felt that if we started all the way in kindergarten, we could really spur their interest and hopefully they take those higher-level math classes and science courses so that they can go on to become an engineer or something like that,” said Krista Ruggles, an assistant professor at UVU who is also a former grade school teacher.
Lesson plans that incorporate the teaching tools are included with the SEEdPOD.
“Teachers in the Provo and Alpine School District helped to review the lessons and UVU and Facebook provided funding. USU has also been part of the project, providing research support,” a joint news release from Alpine School District, Utah Valley University and Facebook says.
The SEEdPOD’s developers plan to bring more of the trailers to other Utah schools, including two other Utah County schools and one in Blanding.