As part of an on-going commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) hosted Community STEM Nights in Kingfisher and Chickasha. The events bring together the oil and natural gas industry and Oklahoma communities for a common goal: empower our future leaders.
Jason Wallace, a teacher for Kingfisher public schools, said his favorite part was seeing all the student interaction.
“It’s just a really good community event for everyone to come together and really see what science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is all about,” said Wallace.
Both events featured numerous educational exhibits and STEM-focused activities including a Lego table, drones, robotics, a live bug display, fossil dig and polymer slime. Kids even got the opportunity to eat a cheese ball dipped in nitrogen to make “dragon smoke” courtesy of Science Museum Oklahoma.
Cindy Stone, principal of Grand Avenue Elementary in Chickasha, spoke about how hands-on activities spur critical thinking in students.
“They start thinking, how does this work? How can I make it better?,” she said.
Community STEM Nights are an extension of the OERB’s $2 million grant program, which provided all Oklahoma school districts with funds for STEM resources. Funding for this initiative was made possible by voluntary contributions from the oil and natural gas industry. During the two Community STEM Night events, more than twenty school districts in Grady, Kingfisher and Blaine counties were presented with checks to use toward STEM supplies and materials for their classrooms.
Andrea Magness, principal of Okarche High School in Kingfisher County, has been looking forward to receiving the grant.
“I love being able to go to my teachers and say, the OERB is providing this for your classroom,” said Magness. “Teachers are spending so much money out of their own pocket. This allows them not to spend their money, but still buy the resources they need.”
Ana Carrion, a parent who attended STEM Night in Chickasha with her daughter, said the grant is a great boost for schools.
“The school is going to put the money to good use in the science program, so we’re thankful,” she said.
For more information on the OERB’s $2 million grant program and the industry’s commitment to our kids future, visit OERB.com/education/stem-grants.