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.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas was awarded $11,000 to create the Geocaching with Science and Literacy pilot program. Based on research indicating that geocaching for educational purposes can motivate student learning in urban areas, UNLV will (1) Develop a series of integrated, place-based, science, and literacy activities empirically grounded in strong pedagogical practice and aligned to state and national standards. (2) Create and install 10 unique science & literacy geocaches accessible to the public but targeted for elementary and secondary students. (3) Bring together community stakeholders to improve and maintain the geocaches.
The Springs Preserve in Las Vegas was awarded $5,610 to develop a wildlife exhibit project that will introduce visitors to the diverse wildlife present in the Las Vegas Valley with an emphasis on natural history and habitat. STEM activities that encourage responsible recreation, respect for animal habitats, and living with wildlife in an urban environment will be developed. Interpretive text will be in English and Spanish.
Walker Elementary School in the Clark County School District was awarded $7,114 for STEM professional learning and planning time for educators. Professional Learning will focus on building teachers’ capacity for developing units of study that provide students with equitable opportunities to engage with meaningful problems or phenomena to build knowledge and understanding. The school desires all students to gain self-confidence and perseverance as they develop their problem-solving skills and collaboration skills. The goal is for students to learn how to successfully work through the Engineering Design Process of asking, imagining, planning, creating, testing, improving, and sharing.
Vegas PBS was awarded $24,276 to produce three additional 30-minute episodes of its STEAM Camp, to add to the existing three episodes produced during the summer of 2020. The program is a weekly broadcast series for children ages 6-8, designed to bring the fun and discovery associated with camp directly into viewers’ homes. A phenomenon-based question drives each episode’s exploration, and the program utilizes community experts, interactive at-home STEAM challenges, and literacy extensions to support inquiry-based learning and conceptual understanding.