DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - A Duncan Middle School teacher is going above and beyond to enhance the fundamentals of teaching in the classroom.
Seventh-grade math teacher Erica Stuck attended a STEAM Maker workshop in Kansas that connects different subjects together so that students can relate to the business world and each other.
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. STEAM helps kids become independent thinkers and teaches them how to solve problems without being told how to do it step-by-step.
STEAM is an educational framework that brings reality to the classroom. It cancels out the traditional teaching and gives students the opportunity to learn using tools and gain hands-on experience.
"Anywhere from materials to sewing machines, Hummingbird Robotics equipment, 3D printers, kitchen appliances, tool kits…there is a huge variety of items in order to make this camp run successful," Stuck said.
Kids learn how to operate and build a robotic dragon as one of the many training ideas to teach students about science.
Although the training only lasted a few days, Stuck already wants to bring back the program for students in 5th grade through 12th grade.
"My goals is for every kid in the school district to experience STEAM Maker, whether it be at a camp or within their own classroom. By doing that, they have confidence in themselves and can be able to solve problems and try new things," Stuck said.
Stuck says hands-on learning has always been the kids favorite part.
"They absolutely love it. They get to be creative and build, even though they don't know what to do next. They keep asking questions and they get to solve that problem. The excitement that they get when they create something new," Stuck said.
STEAM training is not only a stepping stone in schools, it sets the stage for kids and their careers leaving behind a positive impact and making the world a better place.
"If you have independent thinkers, then they are problem solvers on their own. Employees want someone that can do a job without having to be watched over step by step. STEAM Maker training gives kids the courage and the drive to realize 'hey, I can do this without help and I can solve this problem on my own," Stuck said.
Stuck is trying to host a STEAM Maker camp next year in Duncan so teachers can be a part of the learning experience. She also plans to implement STEAM Maker training in her classroom when school starts this fall.
Duncan Superintendent Melonie Hau says she is thrilled that Stuck is the only STEAM Maker teacher in the state of Oklahoma.
If you would like to donate items to help Stuck, you can contact her by email at Erica.firstname.lastname@example.org.