Traverse City Students Learn Hands-On Problem-Solving With New Stem Kits

Traverse City students are getting new tools — giving them a chance to do some hands-on problem-solving.

The TBA Credit Union just awarded Cherry Knoll Elementary School with more than $600 in grant money.

They used that money to purchase brand new STEM kits.

“They are so excited,” said second grade teacher, Marie Willis, about her students. “I mean just giving instructions they want to get their hands on these boxes and just wanna tear ’em open.”

These 2nd graders are rolling through today’s lesson plan.

Their new STEM kits — putting them on the right track to solve real world problems.

“How to save a town from a flash flood, how to build a bridge that people can go across, other goals, how to make a perimeter with ‘x’ amount of logs that you have to fit how many trees,” said Willis.

Learning teamwork and persistence…

“We had to work together with my group and if it didn’t work we had to try again,” said second grade student, Cortez Earl.

And celebrating success along the way.

“We know as parents and as teachers and as adults why it’s important to read and to write and to do your math kids don’t always get it but with the stem kits they really have that authentic reason of why they need to,” said Willis.

Making what might seem daunting… A little more practical for the kids.

“Read so I can read the directions to learn what my goal is why do I need to write so I can plan it out and communicate with  someone what the goal is,” said Willis.

So they can have a good time….

“Building with the STEM kits was fun,” said Earl.

And learn – maybe without even realizing it.

“This is how kids play this is how kids play on their own already in groups, they’re already planning they’re already solving problems,” said Willis. “We are just kinda taking that and bringing it to the next level.”

The teachers plan to incorporate these kits into their lesson plans one hour every week.

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