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Free STEM Shoppe Equips Teachers for Hands-on Lessons

Matt Trotter

The first day of school is less than two weeks away, and the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance is making sure teachers are equipped for hands-on science, technology, engineering and math lessons.

Emily Mortimer with the STEM alliance says their free STEM Shoppe has a variety of goods teachers can take or borrow.

"We actually like to recycle different electronic pieces, so we have old printers, computers monitors, computers themselves, calculators, so students can take those apart and build new things with them," Mortimer said. "We also have a lot of other STEM materials, like a curriculum kit so a teacher can basically just take the kit, go straight into the classroom and start with STEM, especially if they haven't taught a lot of STEM yet."

Many teachers buy those supplies on their own dime, and the STEM alliance is trying to lessen that burden.

"And help make sure they also know there is a community of support behind them. They're not in this alone, that we are there for them, that all of our alliance members are working toward the common goal of STEM education," Mortimer said.

Roy Clark kindergarten teacher Trina Kelley picked up craft sticks, coffee filters and paper clips, which her students use to build all kinds of things. Kelley said that’s where STEM education starts.

"It starts with being able to design and question and just create," Kelley said. "Giving the kids the freedom to explore and create things is huge in developing their thought processes."

The STEM Shoppe closed early, when it ran out of supplies. 

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.