- November 7, 2022
Thanks to a partnership with the Museum of Arts and Sciences and General Electric Volunteers, STEM learning at Tomoka Elementary has become a touch more hands-on.
The school's new science, technology, engineering and math lab opened on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in one of the school's portables. The lab features former MOAS science exhibits, as well as small kits for various lessons. While accessible to all Tomoka Elementary students, the standards that accompany the exhibits are mainly geared for third-fifth grade classes.
“We’ve got our own little personal hands-on museum and hands-on lab," Teacher Dr. Tionis Fordham said. "Things that aren’t as easy to do in the classroom, we can now do here.”
It's a chance to involve students further in the learning process, she said. Teaching them through textbooks and videos works, but Fordham said having a lesson become interactive is different.
“They’re able to create their own knowledge, which is more powerful than anything," Fordham said.
James Zacharias, MOAS senior curator of education and history, said the museum has been sending retired exhibits to local schools for the past 15 years since its partnership with GE began. The museum sends them in groups of five or six.
“The museum is always there to support the school system," Zacharias said. It’s one of our number one missions in the education department in the museum.”
Tomoka Elementary Principal Julie Roseboom said this is the first school where she's been able to start a STEM lab. Tomoka had a portable available, so for the last year, she's been working with Zacharias to make this possible.
The school wants the children to have hands-on lessons in science so that they can recall the information better in the future, she said.
"There’s so much excitement behind the learning," Roseboom said. "The teacher will follow up and tie the activities to the actual standards, and the standard kits that GE has brought to us coincide with the Florida State Standards for third, fourth and fifth grade science.”