What is the Education Matters Extreme STEM Tour?
It is a unique all-inclusive tour for 8th graders to learn about STEM careers through behind-the-scenes tours in business and industry, while additionally learning about local post-secondary education and training through Catawba Valley Community College, the NC Center for Engineering Technologies and the military. Each middle school gets a full day of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) — the experience — PRICELESS!
How did it come about?
As a recipient of a Golden LEAF Foundation grant, Catawba County Schools (CCS) was required to introduce eighth graders to STEM careers. With the Education Matters’ partnership in place, and over 160 business partners committed to supporting education, CCS contacted Education Matters to create a plan.
Taking eighth graders into local businesses to meet people in various levels/positions, while getting to see the work environment, was an innovative way to introduce the students to STEM careers.
With months of planning, and an “extreme”schedule, the EXTREME STEM Tour was created. The goal was for eighth grade students to be more aware of local opportunities in STEM careers as well as the specific skills and training required. The students also learn the importance of taking higher levels of math and science coursework while in high school to be prepared for post-secondary training or entry into a STEM career.
The first Education Matters EXTREME STEM Tour was such a success that the experience now includes all eighth graders in Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools and Catawba County Schools. A special EXTREME STEM Tour for K-12 Teachers was added in June 2014 for approximately 100 teachers and administrators from four school systems and we are now training counties across the region to conduct their own EXTREME STEM Tour.