Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Initiatives
Niagara University's STEM program is designed to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math and advanced manufacturing (AM) education in order to provide students with the tools and resources they’ll need to be prepared for the future job market.
Niagara University’s College of Education, in partnership with National Grid and the Niagara Falls City School District, hosted two four-day STEM camps, designed to give boys and girls in grades three through eight, and young women in grades seven through nine, the opportunity to learn more about STEM disciplines and careers.
Using the next generation science standards as the basis for their lessons, teachers from the Niagara Falls and Buffalo City School Districts led hands-on activities that enabled campers to explore topics including electromagnetic energy, energy conservation, hydroelectric energy, and solar energy. Students approached their tasks as engineers would, using the design process to test, evaluate, and in some cases, adjust their projects, which included building wind and water turbines, making a solar oven, and constructing energy efficient houses.
Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. takes part in Niagara's STEM partnerships with Niagara Falls Schools
"I think giving girls an opportunity to work with just girls has some advantages. I was able to share information that made them aware of the ways in which girls are underrepresented in STEM fields. We emphasized ways in which students learn more and were able to support students who were falling behind. We also worked on encouraging students to compete, speak up, and work on traits that will help them in the real world." - Bhavna Chowdhary, Science Teacher in the Niagara Falls City School District
"In the classroom, we are doing a lot of Common Core, a lot of modules, a lot of paperwork, and the kids tend to get bored with it. Kids learn better with their hands, and the hands-on activities are really exciting for them. More productive learning happens in situations like this." - Jennifer Clyde, Teacher at Maple Avenue School
"The activities are not just something that they have to do, but something that they want to do, and they bring out their natural curiosity and make learning fun." - Lisa Graff, Teacher at 79th Street School
“The overarching goal is that they leave with confidence in STEM topics, even if they had not been exposed to them before, and that their interest in these topics is piqued so that they will continue pursuing them,” - Ronni McGrath, Science Teacher at Gaskill Preparatory School and STEM Camp Instructor
"I’m not used to using hands-on activities in school, so I think they helped me learn more about things than just reading and writing. I worked on things that maybe I wouldn’t be as motivated to do at home, and I liked learning things during the summer so I can be ahead when I go back to school.” - Sophia Cardone, Camper
"I enjoyed the format of the STEM camp because it was a balance between fun and work, I especially enjoyed the etiquette lesson because I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn about it had I not come to this camp." - Emily Barone, Camper