LESA Launches Early Grades STEM/LEGO Robotics Program

Beginning this January, students in grades K-4 at 30 LESA-member Lutheran schools in the St. Louis area will begin learning LEGO robotics, coding and other STEM skills, thanks to a grant from the Employees Community Fund of The Boeing Company and help from parents and professionals in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The new initiative will target students in grades K-4 by combining Office 365 with proven LEGO Education robotics learning systems. The program will launch in January 2019 with the distribution of LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits to teachers at participating schools. Schools will receive ten kits for a minimum of two weeks each semester, with schools selecting the time periods that work best for their instructional schedules. Participating schools will also enlist working and retired professionals from STEM career fields across the St. Louis area to serve as volunteer mentors to students as they create and mobilize their LEGO WeDo projects. The kits may also be used for summer STEM camps and community outreach events to promote STEM learning across the community.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education create critical thinkers, increase science literacy and enable the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to economic growth. "Innovation and science literacy depend on a solid knowledge base in the STEM study areas. Since most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science, it is necessary to begin training our students in these skills at an early age to prepare them to be our future innovators and workforce,” said Sue Nahmensen, CEO of LESA.

The goal of LESA’s new STEM Initiative is to create a Virtual STEM Learning Environment (VSLE) that will help schools integrate an immersive STEM program into their core curriculum.

The initiative will also equip and connect teachers so they can learn from one another and draw from an experienced team. Teachers will share projects through a cloud-based sharing site, and an educator from each school will take part in two, full-day LEGO training sessions. Those teachers will then be equipped to train other teachers in their building, or teachers at other schools as they enter the program. Training for participating educators was facilitated by LEGO educator Matthew Collier and underwritten by STEM2U, a St. Louis non-profit developed to promote interest in science.

To learn more about LESA’s new STEM Initiative, please contact Laura Montgomery, Director of Educational Resources at 314-200-0798.

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