The future will be written by those with the imagination to invent, the confidence to inspire, and the technological skill to turn best dreams into tangible realities. North Carolina’s future workers must have the STEM skills leading companies demand and the citizenship the 21st Century now requires for success.” – BCS Website

STEM in Buncombe County K-5 schools.  STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  STEM Labs are staffed by instructional assistants who are trained to guide students through the Engineering Design Process. 

Fairview Elementary’s STEM Lab integrates the Engineering Design Process (EDP) with the North Carolina Science curriculum. After a unit of study in science, students get the chance to apply their knowledge through STEM challenges. This enables students to Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve upon their solutions to the challenges. Students also work collaboratively in small group settings to solve challenges that are tied to real-world problems.

Melissa Spruill

Melissa Spruill, Fairview Elementary’s STEM Lab Manager, works in partnership with classroom teachers to plan several STEM challenges throughout the year. Challenges are designed to be open-ended, allowing for multiple solutions and giving the students the opportunity to be creative, while building collaborative skills with their teams. Students are also introduced to possible STEM careers, embedded in each challenge. Language arts standards are integrated into each challenge through speaking and listening skills, as well as writing. Students record their brainstorming and planning strategies, creating diagrams and a materials list while showing their understanding of the criteria and constraints put forth in each challenge. Students also take the time to reflect on the process they used to create their designs, as well as discuss the parts of the design that worked well or what they needed to improve.