The Iowa STEMworks Partnership may reach 100,000 students

January 25, 2017

The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council has just selected nine STEM education programs to receive more than $3 million in state funds. That tidy sum may allow them to reach as many as 100,000 Iowa children in the 2017/2018 school year. 

Change the Equation proudly collaborated with the Council on this critical work. We help leaders in Iowa and six other states identify and scale programs that are most likely to have an impact. All too often, state funds go to programs with the glossiest brochures. Our STEMworks protocol requires programs to prove their effectiveness

Iowa used STEMworks to review STEM programs and found that nine of them are worthy of state support:

  • Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) - This high school program immerses students in inquiry-based exercises that reinforce the math and science that undergird agricultural mechanics and engineering. 
  • Engineering is Elementary (EiE) - This rigorously-researched, classroom-tested curriculum boosts elementary students’ interest and confidence in engineering. EiE is designed to encourage all children—including those from underrepresented groups—to envision themselves as potential engineers. 
  • Engineering the Future (EtF) - This curriculum for grades eight through twelve helps all students, including women and minorities, become literate in introductory engineering and technology li. Students will design, build and test prototypes while applying math, science and engineering practices, working creatively and collaboratively, and experiencing the engineering design cycle in a real-world context.
  • FIRST Robotics Competition - Facing strict rules, limited resources and an intense, six-week time limit, teams of 10 or more students must raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.
  • Making STEM Connections - This maker program gives teachers and youths tools to inspire the “maker mentality” through safe and engaging maker experiences. Building upon the natural inclination to tinker, this program empowers participants to explore STEM principles and 21st Century Skills as they design, create and make.
  • PowerTeaching Math - PowerTeaching Math is a leader in helping teachers transform their classroom environments by using cooperative learning strategies to engage all students.
  • Project Lead The Way (PLTW): Launch - This program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset in tackling real-world projects that build upon each other and relate to the world around them and reinforce academic knowledge and skills.
  • Ramps and Pathways - This program for young children nurtures engineering habits of mind as children build their own technology of marble runs; a type of Rube Goldberg machine. In the process, children grapple with the laws of physics, properties of objects, how those properties affect motion and engage in spatial thinking.
  • Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math - This game-based instructional software used by schools across the country boosts math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. 

Iowa's approach has been paying off. Their research finds that students who participate in STEMworks programs outperform those who do not. Given that they reach roughly 100,000 students every year, that's a lot of bang for their 3.2 million bucks.

Other state STEMworks partners will soon announce their results as well. Stay tuned!