Georgia Southern expanding STEM lending library to help local students

Updated: Jan. 30, 2020 at 3:31 PM EST
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University is expanding its STEM lending library to serve 16 counties.

It's a program that helps bring teaching materials directly to students.

Michelle Thompson teaches Scientific Research at Effingham College and Career Academy. She loves teaching STEM and knows it would be difficult without the right tools.

"It's about starting with a problem and looking at the relevance. It answers that question that you and I sat in the seats and said, ‘why are we learning this? Why do I need to know this?’ Students, now with STEM education, they know why they are having to learn this so putting these tools in their hands is helping them understand why they need to learn what they are learning,” Thompson said.

To help her students get more out of class, she's partnered with Georgia Southern University's STEM lending library. Schools pay a yearly fee and can get kits delivered right to the classroom.

"The goal of this project is to really provide outreach to our partner systems to enhance STEM education across the counties that we serve and provide access to those STEM teachers, so they get their hands on the equipment that's going to improve the experience for their students,” said Alisa Leckie, the interim assistant dean of Partnerships and Outreach at Georgia Southern.

Micro controller kits can run about $30 a piece, but through the lending program, teachers can get one for each student that means students get hands on learning.

Materials range from high tech gadgets to simple experiments but give access to a wide range of lesson tools. For Michelle, it opens options for her students, without breaking her class budget.

"The lending program has been fantastic because my students will come up with these individual research projects and I don't necessarily have the supplies to support their project. Instead of saying I can't afford what you need for your project, I can go to the lending inventory and see if they have that available,” Thompson said.

The program is available to K-12 classes in 16 counties.

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