The American Honda Foundation has awarded Hofstra University’s STEM Studio a $75,000 grant that will be used to expand the School of Education‘s teacher preparation programs while offering state of the art programming for local elementary and middle school classes. STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, has long been important to K-12 education. The studio serves as a clinical practice site for undergraduate and graduate students of Hofstra’s School of Education. It complements Hofstra’s one-of-kind undergraduate STEM major for elementary education students, while extending the clinical experience of pre-service teachers of all undergraduate majors. The goal of Hofstra’s three-year-old STEM Studio is to spark teacher and student interest in STEM subjects by showing the wide range of applications and connections they have to everyday life.
STEM Studio has hosted more than 2,000 student in elementary and middle schools in Freeport, Roosevelt, Plainedge, Herricks, Hempstead and Uniondale. Funding from the American Honda Foundation will support educator salaries, supplies and transportation costs for bringing in students from Long Island school districts. The award will allow an additional 40 classes and 1,000 students to participate in Hofstra’s unique learning setting.
During visits to the STEM Studio, classes investigate subjects such as architecture, archaeology, biology, chemistry, physics, geology and health care. Hofstra faculty and teaching interns encourage the children to measure, analyze, discover, research, talk about and listen to each other’s thinking. For example, they record heart rate and pulse before and following different levels of physical activity. At a food science station, they note changes in popcorn kernels before and after popping and find the difference in mass quite discrepant. At another station, they generate names for pretend dinosaur species by “playing with” root words, prefixes and suffixes. At a table for architecture, they build floors with tessellating shapes for a new mall.
Some classes sign up for multiple visits. Every time the classes come to campus, the students work with the same Hofstra teaching interns and faculty members, so as the school year goes on, students and teachers build bonds and more readily share their creative thinking.
Dr. Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, Hofstra professor of teaching, learning and leadership and director of the STEM Studio, says, “Real learning cannot be measured by one Olympic-style event, such as a state exam. At STEM Studio, we offer multiple problem-based learning environments in which our Hofstra undergraduate and graduate students serve as teachers, documenting children’s learning of transferable skills and development of positive dispositions that apply within the many domains of the children’s lives.”
She continues, “The grant from the American Honda Foundation will allow us to work with significantly greater numbers of students and classes, providing invaluable experiential learning opportunities for Hofstra School of Education students who are interested in teaching STEM-related subjects.”
“Through grant giving, the American Honda Foundation seeks to develop youth in the areas of math, science, engineering, technology and literacy,” said Alexandra Warnier, manager at American Honda Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Hofstra University on its important contribution in this area and look forward to the impact and results that will be achieved.”
Established in 1984, the American Honda Foundation (AHF) makes grants to non-profit organizations that benefit the people of the United States in the areas of youth and scientific education, with a specific focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in addition to the environment. AHF engages in grantmaking that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative. Since its inception, more than $30 million has been awarded to organizations serving approximately 115 million people in every state in the U.S. For more information please visit http://www.foundation.honda.com.