STEM Education Outreach (STEMeo) was founded at UCCS in 2008. This became part of the Pre-Collegiate Success and Support Center in 2016. STEMeo at UCCS is an academic program for regional K-12 students designed to motivate and expose students to a variety of STEM activities, careers, and programs. STEM's goal is to increase STEM engagement and skills among students, teachers, and parents. Additionally, the center provides academic and financial support to minority and first-generation students interested in pursuing a STEM degree at UCCS and support to UCCS faculty and departments interested in supporting K-12 STEM Outreach.
The STEM on Wheels clubs are set-up to introduce fun hands-on STEM workshops to students aged 4-13 in the community’s most underserved schools. The goal of each workshop is to engage students in open-ended STEM problem solving thereby increasing their interest in pursuing more STEM opportunities and classes in the future.
This goal is accomplished using workshops designed to be highly engaging, exploratory experiences for the students. Each workshop is designed to allow students the freedom to explore various approaches to solving the problem or design challenge posed by the UCCS workshop instructor.
A volunteer’s role is to ask guiding questions of students to improve their persistence in problem solving for engineering and problem-based tasks. This model is highly dependent on asking good questions rather than giving students quick answers which undermine the joy of exploration. To learn more about asking students guiding questions, please visit: http://www.andistix.com/essential_and_guiding_questions1
The purpose of this document is to outline the process of volunteering for a STEM On Wheels club. This process is as follows:
- Email Vicki Taylor and the club facilitator(s) 48 hours prior to your club visit the schedule
- View the club schedule which includes school off days to ensure the club is running on the day you plan on visiting checkout the schedule.
- Check weather alerts in Harrison School District 2 (D2), Colorado Springs School District 11 (D11) or Widefield School District 3 (D3) by checking the school websites or local weather channel to be sure that the school is open on the day you plan on visiting.
NOTE: UCCS does not have control over school schedules and they can change quickly. Please call and check-in with the office if you are concerned about a schedule change.
- When you arrive at the school, please plan on it taking a few minutes to park. You will see a lot of traffic from parents picking up or dropping off students and school buses. Please ring the door bell and check-in with your ID at the school office. They will give you directions to the STEM club location in their building.
- Plan on arriving early in order to introduce yourself to the club facilitator(s) and teacher(s).
- Have fun and participate. –Ask questions if you need to.
- The club facilitator from UCCS has brought all the materials and curriculum for the workshop that day. They will not have a lot of time to discuss details since they will be busy with the students in the club. You can reach out prior to the club for that information if you are interested.
- Please let the UCCS club facilitator know if you would like a few minutes to introduce yourself to the students or just want to jump in and help.
- Please just go around and observe and ask guiding questions. For example.
- Why they think it works this way?
- Would they like to try it again? If so, would they do it the same or try a different approach?
- What did they learn about the project or experiment?
- Is there another way they could try that might work?
- If you have the time, please complete our quick survey monkey on your volunteer experience at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JJFFV2B
- To learn more about asking students guiding questions, please visit: http://www.andistix.com/essential_and_guiding_questions1and https://www.edutopia.org/blog/five-powerful-questions-teachers-ask-students-rebecca-alber
- An overview of problem-based learning: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/ijpbl/vol1/iss1/3/ , http://ldt.stanford.edu/~jeepark/jeepark+portfolio/PBL/whatis1.htm