Beginning next year Grant Wood AEA will expand the science kits available for Eastern Iowa students and will include 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
The kits are distributed to thousands of students each year through the Grant Wood AEA Van Allen Science Teaching (VAST) Center. “We provide door-to-door support for science instruction,” commented Grant Wood AEA Science Consultant Kathy Schultz. “We train teachers on the science curriculum, then circulate science units filled with related materials to their classrooms. The teachers use the units in hands-on classroom learning, then return the used unit for refurbishment and receive a fresh unit and kit.”
Iowa recently adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a new state standard for what Iowa students should know and be able to do in science from kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently the AEA supports VAST updated units for elementary levels, and beginning next year will expand to include 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Each unit is packed with materials to accommodate up to 30 students at the elementary level, and 150 students at the middle school level. The new kits will match the NGSS.
“Iowa has continued to expand its support for STEM-related education through programs like this one,” said Governor Kim Reynolds, who is also co-chair of Iowa’s STEM Advisory Council. “Cultivating learning in STEM helps our young people succeed and also helps to create jobs right here in Iowa."
The VAST Center was started during the 1992-93 school year in response to
teachers’ needs for hands-on science learning.