Boeing visits STEM schools in Florence 1
Students at Carver Elementary Magnet School and West Florence High School had some very special guests Oct. 2 as Boeing Communications Specialist Libba Holland and Education Relations Specialist Frank Hatten visited their classes. Holland and Hatten were visiting several Pee Dee districts to observe STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes to see what the next generation of hands-on learners were studying and creating.
Carver is in its sixth year of using Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum, which incorporates STEM learning at every grade level. The Boeing representatives observed a kindergarten classroom where students were exploring the story of The Three Little Pigs through the eyes of engineering. Students used straw, sticks, and brick to construct houses before bringing in a big bad wolf (a fan) to blow them over.
Chris Rogers, Director of STEM for Florence 1 Schools, said that the Boeing representatives were very impressed with what they saw going on with the young Florence 1 students.
“When thinking about STEM, we sometimes tend to think about older children,” Rogers said. “These students are in kindergarten and already learning about building structures. They don’t necessarily understand the higher concepts of what they are learning but when they get to more advanced grades those concepts will all start to click together.”
While at West Florence Holland and Hatten visited several engineering and biomedical classes, including Principals of Biomedical Science and Human Body Systems.
“They have health facilities at Boeing which is why they wanted to see the biomedical classes,” Rogers said. “There are doctors, nurses, everything on-site in case anything happens at their facility. They’ve also got a health facilities research team where they build exoskeletons for employees to wear while they are working. For example, people who do a lot of bending and lifting, when they get to work they put on this equipment and it helps them so they don’t get worn out making those motions all the time.”
Rogers said that the high school students learned from the Boeing representatives about opportunities for employment.
“It was really great because the classes they visited had a range of students, ninth grade through seniors, and they talked with them about all of the job opportunities available at Boeing, some of them available with only a high school diploma,” Rogers said. “Some students take these classes because they are fun and it fills out their schedule but if working in these fields is something that they want to actually pursue, there are so many different directions they can take it. I am very proud of the STEM programs that we have in this district. Visits like this, and the feedback that we get, show the high level of work that teachers and students put into their learning and I hope that it will grow into job opportunities for our kids in the future.”