STEM Education: Helping learners excel

Enduring communities have several traits, including strong schools that generate tomorrow’s leaders and workers. We also know that science, technology, engineering and math skills are keys to success in the global economy.

Our team of STEM experts

To ensure that our students have these skills, the Catawba River District has formed the K-20 Learning World, a collaboration of educators to help us nurture the learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through activities focused on environmental themes. Our experts include STEM leadership from Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Gaston County Schools, Discovery Place Science Museum and UNC Charlotte's Center for STEM Education, IDEAS Center and Charlotte Research Institute.

Preliminary steps

The River District has begun working with our schools on several activities, including:

• STEM OUTDOOR LEARNING FAIR – The River District launched its STEM Outdoor Learning Fair in 2011 to nurture excitement about learning STEM skills. Last year, More than 500 fifth graders spent an exciting day visiting hands-on learning kiosks set up on the shore of Lake Norman. LEARN MORE

• SCHOOLYARD GARDENS – At the heart of our ambitious Farm to School program is STEM learning by doing, in this case with tomatoes, peppers and melons. LEARN MORE

• CHICKEN TRACTOR – Hens in a mobile chicken coop travel among our schools to provide hands-on lessons about the interaction among humans, our environment and the food chain. LEARN MORE

• ECO-FOOTPRINT CHALLENGE – We begin this year with the new Eco-Footprint Sustainability Competition, underwritten by the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundations. Students at five elementary schools are devising ways to shrink their building’s impact on the environment. LEARN MORE

Our ultimate goal: STEM learning for our community

The K-20 Learning Team wants to take the next step and implement community/business/faith partnerships as well as community based learning laboratories to provide role models, financial support and additional hands-on STEM skill enhancements. In essence bring the science of Discovery Place to our community.

stemfair2013 STEM events


STEM learning and gardens