GDOE's STEM program brings science to lifeWritten by Rebecca Elmore
Guam – The Guam Department of Education’s STEM program has returned once again, this time, bringing science to life in the classroom with their new focus on plants, animals, and the environment.
Over 20 elementary schools are currently participating in GDOE’s STEM training and will continue to train until this Friday. The curriculum is even tailored to adapt to local plants, animals, and Guam's environment.
The training is part of GDOE’s ongoing efforts to encourage an interest in STEM in the classroom, or Science Technology, Engineering and Math. The focus this month is on designing a curriculum that engages students to observe, review, and experiment with plants and animals.
According to GDOE’s STEM Facilitator, Laura Arndt, the curriculum is even adapted to fit the unique flora and fauna of the island.
"Our focus is on life science and so they’re gonna be working with plants and animals. Guam is very unique. So the curriculum that we're bringing in has students learning about animals using live animals --some of the animals we can find on the island, and some we're having to adapt,” she said.
Guam Department of Education's Project Director, Dr. Leah Beth Naholowaa told PNC why the new organic focus, though not often associated with science, technology, engineering or math, is still vital in the classroom.
“So this year, we're doing plants and animals and we invited speakers to come and talk to us about what we have on Guam so we can use what we learned here in the classroom and what's available on Guam...STEM is not just technology or engineering –it's everything. It’s plants. It’s animals. It’s everything that we see in our environment, not just what we see in the classroom, it’s everything that we have. So it's not just technology. It’s not just engineering,” she said.
The training is part of GDOE's ongoing efforts to encourage an interest in STEM in the classroom and Arndt hopes it will help not only the students, but the teachers as well.
“I would say that the reason why the Department of Education chose this particular focus to bring to the students is because this island is so unique in its plants and animals. And its native species have gone extinct because of the introduction of invasive species. So the leadership for the school have really put this as a priority because the students are our next leaders and decision makers. They’re the ones that are outside and they’re the ones that are exploring and they are the ones that are able to identify where the native species are and where the invasive species are,” she said.
Over 20 elementary schools were represented at the Hyatt today and more are expected to return throughout the week.