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Grant to enable PCMS to develop STEM innovation lab

By Andy Rhinehart

Polk County Middle School and STEM teacher Dale Rush were recently awarded a $7,500 grant by the PwC Charitable Foundation through Donor’s Choose for an innovation lab.

The Innovation Lab grant will allow for experimentation and learning new technologies. STEM topics specifically funded through this grant include 3D printing, robotics and coding, virtual and augmented reality, electronics and circuitry, and a study of engineering and design using drones.

Lessons and activities will reinforce core subject area skills while targeting the specific areas of need identified in the PCMS school improvement plan. Learners will be engaged in authentic, kinesthetic experiences designed to motivate them to explore content deeper while working collaboratively and independently.

Additional information on the grant program will be forthcoming July 13 with intended implementation during the 2020-2021 school year, conditions permitting. Funding the Innovation Lab will expand some units of study and expose students to new career opportunities expanding throughout the country.

Some of the technologies being investigated for the Innovation Lab will immerse students in lessons such as use of augmented and virtual learning. Students will also investigate robotics/coding to help them better understand logic and reasoning along with 3D printing and electronics and circuitry to build 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and literacy.