At GUSD, learning
STEMs from hands-on activity
GANADO, AZ Every person learns differently. Some take
to lectures and textbooks, while others need a more hands-on approach.
That is what the new elective science, technology, engineering
and math classes at Ganado Unified School District are offering
students this school year.
You can learn a lot about acoustics, for example, by building
a guitar, or about botany by actually growing plants.
Jeanna Dowse, director of instructional services, said the district
developed a five-year plan to incorporate more STEM-based classes
into the GUSD curriculum as a way to get the students more excited
about the fields.
"We're integrating all those subjects into every aspect
of the curriculum," Dowse said. The two STEM courses being
offered now are a part of their exploratory model for their five-year
"In order to implement STEM fully you start off with the
exploratory model," Dowse said adding that the STEM classes
in this stage of immersion are stand-alone programs. The courses
offered are guitar and hydroponics.
"Now that we're in the 21st Century and the Age of Technology,
and how rapid everything is moving nationwide, kids are falling
far below in engineering and technology," Dowse said. There
is a need for people in these fields but the nation is unable to
fill them because there are not enough kids graduating with degrees
in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, she explained.
"It's not just a problem here on the reservation ó
it's across the nation," Dowse added. "These jobs we need
to start filling, and as a school system we need to start preparing
kids for those areas."
The two STEM classes offered now at GSUD are the starting point,
Dowse said, adding that hopefully in five years they will have STEM
classes fully embedded into the curriculum.