SHEFFIELD, Iowa - The West Fork school district's 'STEAM' program is getting some assistance thanks to three grants from the state of Iowa.
Curriculum coordinator Wendy Fullerton applied for three grants and was awarded two of them.
The 'STEM' program, or 'STEAM' in West Fork, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, and has students solve problems with hands-on learning.
When Fullerton and her assistant started the program this school year, they didn't anticipate how many students would join it.
"When we started this, we said we were only going to keep it to 20 kids, and this was just K-1, so we'll keep it to 20 kids and keep it manageable and see where it goes from there, and then we'll build on it and reflect and all that. So we did, but it just kept growing and growing, and we couldn't turn kids down. So we're up to 46 students," Fullerton says.
Fullerton adds that the students who participate in STEAM are excited to come to the class that's held once a month.
"They come, they get to explore. We try to keep it more student focused, so they kind of direct their own learning. We give them a problem to solve, and then let them go and solving it," Fullerton says.
Fullerton notes that the program is focused on student collaboration in groups rather than individuals.
Nationally, the STEM program has been around for over 100 years, but has gained more attention in recent years due to in-demand jobs in STEM-related fields.