Students benefit from district-wide STEM education in Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — LaSalle Prep 7th graders spent the morning working on the next phase of a STEM project. It involved scale models of a home they made out of papers and straws.

“Now they’re working in their science classes to determine the energy efficiency of their home, how well does it retain heat, how can they improve it’s ability to retain heat and they’re working to insulate that home right now,” said Ronni McGrath, STEM Coordinator K-8 of the Niagara Falls City School District.

The classroom is one of several district wide that incorporates STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math into interactive learning.

“The focus behind this is jobs. If you look into the data it tells you that the jobs that are going to be available for our students as they graduate are in STEM fields,” said McGrath.

This academic school year is the first year STEM education has been a part of all 11 schools of the Niagara Falls City School District. McGrath says the educational exposure is especially important for students in what’s considered a high-needs district.

“I feel like our district is unique because we do start young with them. We expose them to careers in elementary school we don’t wait until they become high school students. They’re already learning about engineering careers in elementary schools,” said McGrath.

McGrath says STEM activity takes place in schools across the district on a daily basis. She says it improves students interest in the subjects and knowledge that can be applied to real world experiences in the future.

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