Children flood the wind tunnel. Photo by Scott Ball.
Children flood the wind tunnel. Photo by Scott Ball.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an organization that supports learning through cultural and civic engagement, has awarded The DoSeum a $149,902 grant to provide engineering education at local elementary schools.

The grant will fund engineering curriculum training for teachers from Harlandale, Judson and Southwest independent school districts. The curriculum, Engineering is Elementary, is a hands-on, project-based approach to teaching engineering skills to young children.

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum aims to encourage young minds to embrace science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM education, a course of study that attracts a disproportionately low number of female and minority students. According to the Engineering is Elementary website, introducing engineering to students at a young age adjusts their perception to embrace rather than reject engineering, which could better their chance of choosing the field as a career later in life.

The DoSeum partnered with the Region 20 Education Service Center and SASTEMIC, a local nonprofit that advocates for STEM education, to offer Engineering is Elementary teacher training to 30 teachers, thus bringing engineering education to more than 750 students.

The entrance to The DoSeum. Photo by Scott Ball.
The entrance to The DoSeum. Photo by Scott Ball.

The 10 teachers in each of the three schools will train third and fourth grade students in STEM education in their individual classrooms before convening for a final capstone project at the DoSeum.

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum challenges students to help solve problems that cultures face across the globe. The capstone project, for example, could ask students to help a Peruvian girl design a container to transport water to her village.

“Students would learn about Peru, learn about the context in which the girl is living, and then as part of the project, they could design a solution to address the girl’s need,” said DoSeum CEO Vanessa Lacoss Hurd.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums, partnered with the DoSeum to provide students with a hands-on learning environment, bridging the gap between formal and informal education.

“One of our primary objectives at the DoSeum is to serve as a community convener, connecting with other organizations from throughout San Antonio with the goal of providing our children with the best educational experience possible,” Hurd stated in a press release. “This significant grant from IMLS will allow us to work with Region 20 and SASTEMIC to bring important, hands-on, STEM learning to classrooms that may not currently have the resources to implement this type of program.”

*Top image: Children flood the wind tunnel at the DoSeum.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....