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 Science Alive was awarded $8,208 to fund the creation of 8 new Energy STEM Kits. DRI’s STEM Kit Program; a collection of easy-to-use STEM activities which are prepackaged and accessible to all age levels are designed for use by informal educational institutions such as libraries and Boys and Girls Clubs. The funding will support the creation and distribution of 8 new hands-on kits along with online content on the topic of Energy.
Sierra Nevada Journeys was awarded $7,630 to develop and deploy 7 new Southern Nevada focused environmentally themed lessons. These lessons will be offered virtually to teachers throughout the region at no charge and will be connected to Nevada Academic Content Standards. It is estimated that these lessons will reach over 10,000 students in the 2020-2021 school year.
Friends of the Nevada State Museum was awarded $4,419 to scale up and expand their traveling trunk program. They will create 2 Eco Challenge trunks and 2 Artifacts and Fossils Trunks to be distributed in the 2020-2021 school year. The Traveling Trunk Program is available to all Clark County, Nevada schools (336 according to the District website). Teachers need only contact the museum to reserve a trunk for up to two weeks on their selected unit of study. All trunks are aligned with the State Framework and District guidelines to meet the needs cross grade level and include suggestions/adaptations for all learning levels. Each trunk can reach a minimum of 1,000 students per year.
UNLV was awarded $27,873 to expand their popular Tech Trekker Program to schools throughout Clark County. The program provides access to specialized equipment and interactions with college engineering students Through this grant, they will hire teachers to create new lessons and develop a video to go along with their program. New equipment will also be purchased to enable to programs expansion. Tech Trekker reach an average of 300 K-12 students and 15 teachers every month through physical school visits and virtual platforms. Major beneficiaries of this STEM education program will be students between 5-18 years. In addition, teachers will benefit, too, through workshops organized to teach them about modern science and engineering tools, and to collaboratively brainstorm uses for the equipment.
UNLV was awarded $3,500 to expand their popular Saturday STEM Program and reach a new audience of K-2 grade. Through this grant, UNLV will develop one lower elementary (grades 1-2) computer science unit that is aligned with Nevada Computer Science Education Standards adopted in 2018. The program will be administered in the 2020-2021 school year and they will recruit students from Title 1 students in CCSD.
Desert Research Institute was awarded $2,711 (additional awards of $2,711 from Rural and $2,711 from Northwestern 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.
REC Foundation was awarded $5,315 (additional awards of $5,315 from Rural and $5,215 from Northwestern 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.