Originally published Monday, April 16, 2018 at 06:02a.m.

How do things work? That is what students from Territorial Early Childhood Center are exploring. TECC students have a wonderful opportunity to participate in the bi-weekly, after-school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Club. Some of the teachers got together and organized the STEM Club and developed the curriculum.

This club is available to our students through the generous help from tax credit donations. The club meets every other Monday and students rotate in and out of the club in order to give more students the opportunity to attend. The STEM Club introduces students to and promotes critical thinking skills and involves hands-on science experiments.

Our STEM club is aimed at enhancing the Math, Science, and Technology learning activities that are taking place in the classrooms. This is an opportunity for students to use an inquiry process and collaboratively hypothesize and stretch their brains. This is a journey of learning how things work.

This year the STEM Club has explored roller coaster models, marble mazes, tin foil boats water tension, catapults, 3-D shapes, and how specific ingredients react to create SLIME! Our math component of STEM enriches student understanding of how to decompose numbers from their expanded forms, utilize the base 10 form, and also promotes student use of number word forms.

Our learners get messy while discovering the fun of science. The low-stakes, fun environment offers time for exploration. Some of the students shared their thoughts about STEM Club.

Dakotah says, “I love learning to make slime, mixing the chemicals is cool.” “We learn that if we want to become an inventor when we grow up that the STEM Club will help us,” stated Joaquin. Kloie shared, “My favorite thing in STEM Club is learning to mix shaving cream with stuff and creating formations”. Hunter said, “It is so fun learning how to make stuff!”

Maddison shared, “Learning to build stuff is really fun!” David said, “I like STEM Club because we get to build boats and see what makes them float and what makes them sink.”

“I like the STEM Club because I learn how to make stuff grow and also I like to build stuff” explained Izaiah.

Our goal is to challenge our young learners and encourage them to expand their thinking skills while figuring out the how and why of experiments in a fun and nurturing environment. We are constantly adding more to our rotation of activities and enjoy seeing our STEM Club students thrive. Next school year we hope to continue to expand and grow our club so that it can be offered to more students.