New STEM course program coming to Narragansett

Staff Writer
Monday, February 26, 2018

PHILLIPSTON — State officials have granted the Narragansett Regional School District $65,000 to teach local students science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through “Project Lead the Way” courses.

“As currently planned, both the middle and high school will each offer one additional course for the 2018 through 2019 school year and add a second course at each school for the following year,” according to a press statement from the school about the grant. The money will be used for teacher training and necessary equipment.

“It is essential that we engage our students throughout their K-12 school years with hands-on lessons in science, engineering, computer science, technology, and math, said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in the statement. 72 other middle and high schools across the state also received grants for STEM education.

Within the Narragansett Regonal School District, that total of $65,000 in funding breaks down into two separate grants — one for the middle school, and another for the high school.

$30,000 was given to begin classes at Narragansett Middle School in automation and robotics including mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students will also build robotics, program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms, and learn about the history, development, and influence of robotics.

A second $35,000 grant was given to the Narragansett Regional High School specifically for foundational engineering studies.

“In (Introduction to Engineering Design) students are introduced to the engineering profession as they solve engineering problems using an engineering design process. This hands-on course uses the activity-project-problem-based approach where students work on projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills,” the press statement says.

Looking ahead, the district can implement other Project Lead The Way courses in the future if so desired, including app creation, and design and modeling in the middle school, and principles of engineering and computer science principles in the high school. The statement notes that Narragansett intends “to create a grades six to 12 STEM pathway for students which will prepare them for college courses or careers.”

“This grant was written with the support of Dr. Chris Casavant, superintendent, and hte Narragansett Regional School Committee. A special thank you goes to Dr. Peter Cushing, Narragansett Middle School principal, Mandy Vasil, Narragansett Regional High School principal, and Cate Calise, chief academic officer, for their hard work through two phases of grant writing,” the statement notes.

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