Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013

Science and Technology Programs Funded by Clemson Grants

Greenville County Schools is the recipient of two grants from the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development to implement science and technology programs in several schools. The first grant, for $3,000, is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP) Ahead Project, and the second grant, for $4,000, will develop an afterschool program called Communities In Schools Camp Science Investigators Project.

The STEP Ahead Project will bring a packaged machine-building kit into the ninth grade classroom for about 1,500 freshmen to mimic a production facility. Business partners, including as 3M, ADEX, BMW, Cryovac, Fabri-Kal, Fluor, GE, Lockheed Martin, Michelin, and Proterra, will conduct classroom demonstrations that enhance STEP concepts.

Grant funding for STEP Ahead includes the purchase of pre-packaged kits for the classroom demonstrations such as Mousetrap Racers, Hovercrafts, Electric Dragsters, Amphibian Rovers, and Bottle Catamarans. As a follow up to the classroom demonstration, a representative from Greenville Technical College, BMW, Michelin, or GE will speak to the students about career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

A comparison and evaluation of career cluster choices made in the ninth grade and tenth grades will be conducted, and schools that offer pre-engineering courses, Project Lead the Way, manufacturing courses, and mechatronics will be evaluated to determine if student enrollment in these programs increases.

The CIS Camp Science Investigators Project includes a standards-based science curriculum for students in the CIS Afterschool Program at five schools and will be a fun, academic enrichment tool that links to STEM and manufacturing concepts. The schools are Chandler Creek Elementary, Duncan Chapel Elementary, Monaview Elementary, Sue Cleveland Elementary, and Woodmont Middle.

By utilizing the Science-on-Wheels format presented by a Roper Mountain Science Center curator, students will be involved in activities such as bridge-building, robotics, measurement, quality, and logistics. These hands-on experiences will place students in the innovative world of scientists and engineers through design, exploration, experimentation, and invention. The curator will connect these experiences to the world of work – whether it’s in an advanced manufacturing facility, an engineering firm, a research lab, or to be an entrepreneur.

The goal of the CIS Camp Science Investigators Program is for students to connect fun, science-based, pre-engineering concepts to the world of work. Students will be given a pre-assessment and post-assessment to evaluate their basic knowledge level.

With a focus on advanced manufacturing to support South Carolina’s burgeoning manufacturing industry, the Center for Workforce Development oversees distribution of the funds to partner institutions that include universities, technical colleges, K-12 institutions and STEM-oriented organizations through competitive funding awards, scholarships and internships.

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