About the STEM Materials Center
To generate excitement about STEM, it is essential to provide students with real-world, relevant learning opportunities to explore phenomenon and design solutions to problems. The STEM Materials Center offers K-8 science teachers standards-based science kits and many other resources to efficiently and effectively create a lifelong interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Currently 29 school districts within the Southwest Washington region, serving 1,500 teachers and over 45,000 students utilize these programs. We facilitate 4,500 science kits, as well as science and math education literature to participating schools each year.
Research shows that partnerships between K-12 education, higher education and the business sector are extremely beneficial in preparing students for careers in mathematics and science.
What are Science Kits?
Elementary and middle schools served by the materials center receive "science kits" that are developed by nationally recognized leaders in science materials development which include the Lawrence Hall of Science / University of California, Berkeley and the Smithsonian Institutions amongst them. These science kits use research on how students learn best to provide a coherent set of inquiry-based investigations leading to development of core science principles and concepts. Having the science materials and teacher's guide come in a kit make hands-on science teaching more manageable and doable for a lot of teachers. Teachers and students can now look forward to learning science together instead of reading about science. These science kits stimulate interest in science and lead to enduring science learning experiences and understanding of the natural world.
Prior to using a science kit in their classroom, teachers receive instruction giving them hands-on experience with the material. During a 6-hour workshop, teachers receive instructional strategies that give them confidence to teach, competence in the content, and skills in the classroom management of the materials. The STEM Materials Center conducts an average of 150 workshops/year for about 1,500 teachers served by the center.