In order to bring more resources to their students, San Simon Elementary School started an afterschool STEM Club called The Cooler than Absolute Zero Science Club. With a population of around 165, San Simon is a remote district 40 miles east of Wilcox with one K-12 school district shared with the neighboring community, Bowie, that serves approximately 120 students. With funding from RAIN the club was formed to serve all students in grades K-12.
How it began?
The group started without knowing what the exact outcome of students would be and since the creation of the club, has worked to evolve the program to increase interest for every age group. The current membership includes 25 students. Due to the wide range of ages, they have split up into three separate groups. To better tailor the sessions, the elementary group meets twice a month and the junior high and high school group meets on a weekly basis.
What they did?
The group used the RAIN grant in order to purchase the supplies needed that relate directly to what the students are studying in their groups. The club intends to send home tools on a monthly basis with the students so that their exploration of STEM can continue beyond the classroom and club. These tools include items such as weather stations, trackers when studying weather, and/or binoculars and bird houses when studying birds.
The group has now partnered with the Friends of Cave Creek Canyon to ensure that the students can go on a monthly field trip to experience science in another unique manner and area. Each trip focuses on what the group was studying in the club that month.
Why it’s important
|It’s important to be able to provide students with the tools needed to learn and get excited about STEM outside the classroom not just because STEM fields offer awesome job opportunities but also because our future depends on these kids. STEM is about a spirit of experimenting and evaluating information objectively, of understanding our world a little bit more. These are valuable skills and mindsets to acquire, wherever the kids go next in life.