STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Creating opportunities for students to develop in these fields not only benefits the kids, but also helps ensure a bright future for our society.
Open since 2015, the Sylvania STEM Center originally began when teacher and parent Crystal Burnworth introduced extracurricular STEM education in the Sylvania School District. As interest grew, STEM-based teams started to multiply and eventually a central location was established with the help of grants and investors Sylvania STEM Center became a reality.
The Center opened and interest continued to increase last year, with about 250 kids involved in teams and a few hundred more involved through the Center’s camps. The Center also hosts two tournaments for kids from grades 4-8, which last year involved over 1,500 participants.
Something for all ages
Open to students from first through 12th grades, Sylvania STEM Center follows a worldwide program, FIRST, which allows kids from Sylvania to compete with kids from all over the world. The Center participants are split into three levels based on age groups.
First through third grade students participate in the Junior FIRST Lego League (JFLL) where they are guided by adult coaches to use Legos to design models. Additionally, teams develop a Show Me Poster, illustrating the journey of designing and creating the models. This not only allows the kids to reflect on the process, but also helps them practice presentation skills. Kids in this age category can also participate in expos, if they choose.
When students get a little older (grades 4-8), they join the First Lego League (FLL) which allows them to work more closely on real-world science and technology problems. Groups work to answer a scientific question and build a Lego robot to perform a series of tasks that revolve around a specific theme. In FLL kids can participate in official tournaments.
The last tier is the First Tech Challenge (FTC), designated for high school students. At this level, students design, build and program robots to compete head to head against other teams’ robots to complete specific challenges, which require real-world engineering processes and sound engineering principles. Along with the opportunity to compete in various tournaments and the World Championship, FTC students also can qualify for many scholarships to over 130 different colleges.
With the continuing growth of STEM occupations, it is important to maintain students’ interest in these fields.
Sylvania STEM Center is a great place for students to become immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Want to get involved? Visit sylvaniastem.org to find Spring programs.