Skinner Magnet School in Omaha is one of 44 nationwide that’ll take part in a STEM pilot program for elementary-level students.
The Project Lead the Way program is designed for kindergarten through fifth grade students. It has 12 modules focusing on different areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. At Skinner, students learn those skills by way of shapes and structures, gears, bridges, and an architecture project.
Engineering teacher Dustin Driever is leading the PLTW program at Skinner. He says their program ties the projects students create to real-world concepts.
"The biggest thing that’s a plus for the kids is being able to relate it to the real world. You’re not just building it, you’re building it for a purpose. If you build a seesaw, we say okay, here’s the seesaw, how does it work, why do we have seesaws, and what levers and pulleys and fulcrums, and we get in to the vocabulary a lot and kind of explain how things work and why they work."
Driever says young people may know as early as second or third grade if they’re interested in math and science fields. He says Skinner’s STEM programs also teach students about the importance of teamwork and communication.
The Project Lead the Way program at Skinner Magnet School will begin in mid-October.