The Bagdad Unified School District is a small school district, serving Pre-K through 12th grade, located in a very remote mining town in Yavapai County.
Their project aims to create a STEM focused shared decision making committee for their district that will engage students, staff, and community members, and will work to enhance the integration of STEM in their district. In addition, they intend to provide STEM based professional development for all their teachers and to integrate regularly scheduled STEM focused inquiry based projects into classrooms across the district.
At Bagdad Unified School District, we have integrated CTE through a STEM pathways program across the curriculum in support of preparing the workforce of tomorrow. Integrating CTE and engineering practices under the STEM umbrella has led to innovation and collaboration between teachers, students, businesses and the community to engage students in a worthwhile real- world STEM experience, which emphasizes the human elements as well as the physical elements." - John DePanfilis – STEM Coordinator
In the End...
The Helios STEM Grant along with the partnership with Science Foundation Arizona helped our school district identify our goals through a vision that led to a strategic plan for implementation. We modified our finances and actively pursued other grants and donations to further our STEM programs and opportunities for sustainability. We also supported our staff interests and experiences with professional development to create collaboration between teachers that created exciting and rewarding hands-on STEM electives and clubs which include; Industrial Tech (Paxton Patterson Lab), Construction Trades, Welding, Automotive, Engineering, Computer Science - Code.org, Aviation (MS & HS), Culinary / Family Consumer Science, Hydroponics, Desert Ecology, Clubs/Camps (Aviation, Cranium Crushers, Engineering), Summer STEM Kids Camp Replaced Title I Summer School and the CTSO’s Leadership program! We were able to increase our student’s STEM opportunities with the following technology thanks to this grant; laptops for high school/middle school students, Google Platform / online resources, Paxton Patterson Lab, Lockheed Martin Flight Simulator Software, 3d printers, drones, bat monitoring equipment, Vernier Labquests, Probes & Software, robotics kits (elementary & high school) and Bridle Creek Outdoor Learning Center equipment (densiometers, clinometers, game cameras, g.p.s systems, bug nets and cages, soil and water test Kits, plant presses, herbarium etc.) Bridle Creek Outdoor Learning Center is a 27 acre riparian habitat enhancement area in Bagdad, Az. "Bridle Creek is managed both for habitat enhancement and educational outreach, "said Tara Woodcock, Environmental Scientist. Some of the STEM activities and studies completed at Bridle Creek included; plant identification, pollinator species / Monarch Butterflies, animal study utilizing trail cameras & g.p.s, created trail wildlife & plant guides, invasive species and their impact, soil and stream ecology, solitary bee houses, canopy measurements, benches designed and built by CTE, comparing seasons - elementary, Bat Night - Anabat, general clean up/Wellness Walk and the annual Scavenger Hunt with Liberty Wildlife, FMI & AZ Fish and Game. "Freeport-McMoRan places an emphasis on programs that improve STEM education for students. The scavenger hunt at Bridle Creek is one example of how we are partnering with local schools to provide interactive experiences that engage students in STEM, while fostering a respect for the natural world”, said Laura Phelps, Community Development Specialist.
We’ve had a variety of exciting STEM projects over the past three years, which included; robotics, electric/solar powered car, solar charging station, trebuchets, cardboard boats for annual community/school race, plant boxes and many other PBL campus projects! We recently held our Annual Sci-Tech/College and Career Festival, which was a huge success. Bagdad teachers and students proudly demonstrated their STEM curriculum through; drone with onsite live feed, flight simulators, 3-D printer demo, explosive chemistry labs, catapult competition, robotics demo, culinary, hydroponics and a stargazing event that followed.
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