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Grant Funds Unique STEM Program at Desert Sage

October 24, 2016 – Twenty-four interdisciplinary modules from kindergarten’s push and pull lesson to fifth-grade’s robotics and automation are now available to Desert Sage Elementary through Project Lead The Way (PLTW), all thanks to a grant from RedBuilt. The lessons available through PLTW are supplemental to those already taught in K-5 classrooms, emphasizing STEM learning with interactive activities and group work.


“In this day and age, technology is huge. Science is an area which does not get hit on as much because math and reading are so big. It is also hard to find materials and curriculum which has a lot of meat to it,” Amy Evey, second-grade teacher explained. “PLTW offers great science lessons which go along with our standards and allow for cross-curricular connections. Kids need to be more prepared for their futures and STEM is a large part of that because of jobs and also because of the way people interact.”


Heather Strong, senior engineer and grant coordinator for RedBuilt, initially brought the idea of PLTW to Desert Sage because she wants her children and others in the Treasure Valley to experience a more diverse STEM education.


“STEM learning and exploration at a young age helps children become comfortable with trying, failing and trying again. The PLTW curriculum, in particular, focuses on collaborative problem solving, which is something the students can carry forward,” Strong shared. “Statistics have shown there are many STEM classified jobs which go unfulfilled each year, because there are not enough qualified candidates to fill those roles. If we can engage children early, they are more likely to choose these paths as they further their education, which will lead to a larger candidate pool for employers to fill much needed STEM positions.”


After training with PLTW over the summer, Evey now has the knowledge to coach her colleagues on the innovative lessons provided through the program and its materials. With help from Strong, Evey anticipates students at Desert Sage will also have the unique opportunity of meeting real-life engineers, mathematicians and more as RedBuilt employees visit the school.


West Ada offers pre-engineering programs through Career and Technical Education.  


Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization with programs in more than 9,000 schools across the United States. For more information about their services, please visit their website.