OSIT has partnered with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to manage three Networks, (Southern, Northwestern, and Rural Nevada) to coordinate partners representing K-12 and Higher Education, business, industry, public libraries, after-school providers, non-profits, government, and philanthropy to identify and scale up high-quality STEM programs that will prepare students for Nevada’s 21st century workforce. The goals of the three Regional STEM Networks are to:
- Increase the number and quality of formal and informal STEM-focused education programs in all communities in Nevada.
- Increase student awareness, interest, enrollment, and achievement in formal and informal STEM-focused education programs.
- Grow the number and depth of school-business-community STEM partnerships.
- Identify on-the-ground programmatic gaps or implementation challenges in need of a state-level solution.
- Grow interest, awareness, and achievement in STEM in the region.
- Carry out on-the-ground implementation of state-level programs/goals.
- Identify and build local programs and initiatives worthy of scaling statewide.
- Create and facilitate partnerships and the sharing of resources among K-12, higher education, and business/industry within the region.
DRI’s Science Alive was awarded $8,430 for the development of 15 new STEM Kits created in the theme of The Four Seasons of Citizen Science. DRI’s STEM Kits are prepackaged activities which are accessible to all age levels and are designed for use by informal educational institutions such as libraries and Boys and Girls Clubs or at Title 1 schools for family engagement. The funding will support the creation and distribution of a new kit which uses smart phone macro lenses as magnifying scopes to enable up-close observations of the natural world for use in citizen science data collection. Each kit can reach 50-2,000 students throughout the year.
Desert Research Institute was awarded $2,711 from the Northwestern Nevada Region (additional awards of $2,711 from Rural and $2,711 from Southern Region were also awarded for a total of $8,132) to create and implement statewide virtual teacher professional development workshops which connects educators with experts across different scientific disciplines. DRI scientists will explore phenomenon related to their science research in this 5-part series.
Envirolution was awarded $13,577 to purchase materials for classroom and school energy efficiency kits in addition to coverage for professional time to scale-up its Project ReCharge program. Project ReCharge is a supplemental curriculum which provides professional development and materials to teachers while providing hands on learning experiences for students as they craft energy efficiency proposals. Funding from the grant will allow Envirolution to provide professional development to 25 middle and high school teachers in the Washoe County School District who collectively will reach about 2,250 students each year.
PBS, with a series of workshops which follow a see, read, do model for student participation, was awarded $12,500 so PBS can create an additional 12 robotics based Ready to Learn workshops. Funding will enable PBS to scale-up the number of participating schools and classrooms in the Northwest area. In total, the 12 robotics workshops will serve about 12,000 students in the Northwest Region.
REC Foundation was awarded $5,315 from the Northwestern Nevada Region (additional awards of $5,315 from Rural and $5,215 from Southern Regions were also awarded for a total of $15,945). Network funding will cover the necessary time and resources to create two virtual teacher professional development workshops to cover the skills needed to build, code, and operate robotics for afterschool STEM programming. 12 teachers per region will be selected to participate in this program and they will also receive a robot to build along with online instruction. The goal is to establish 36 new robotic competition teams throughout the state.
Sierra Nevada Journeys was awarded $17,462 to support the development and rollout of nine Nevada focused environmentally themed virtual lessons. These lessons will be offered online to teachers throughout the region at no charge and will be connected to Nevada Academic Content Standards. Since accessibility is limited only by student access to the internet the reach of the program can extend up to and beyond 10,000 students in the 2020-2021 school year.