Project STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Education
  • Youth
  • Technology
  • Ghana
This project is led by Mary Durr, a Volunteer from Mississippi

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is a catalyst for developing future scientists and mathematicians. Currently, there are 57 students enrolled at the Junior High School in the Peace Corps Volunteer's community. Every student from form 1 to form 3 is required to learn Information and Communication Technology (ICT), science, and mathematics as part of the educational curriculum. However, due to the absence of the basic essentials at the school, the students struggle to comprehend some of the skills. For example, the technological infrastructure for ICT that students are required to learn does not exist, which makes learning extremely problematic and impractical, thus causing inconsistencies in the students competence to master and/or fully understand the scope of how technology ultimately operates. Another example is Science. Science is a cogent subject that forms and organizes knowledge around nature and the universe. Science and technology are interwoven to create new technologies that are frequently used to allow students to learn nature in various ways and to make new discoveries. However, this knowledge base is deficient in the learning academics for these students as a science lab equipped with the necessary tools to allow them to make discoveries possible does not exist. This lack of the essential tool needed for skill mastery makes knowledge comprehension challenging. Similarly is mathematics. Mathematics is the science that deals with logic of shapes, numbers and their operations, and of space, quantities and arrangements. Math is the building block for everything in our lives, including mobile devices, architecture, art, medicine, investment, engineering, and more. One cannot survive in this society without mathematics, yet the students are not able to grasp the concepts of mathematics because the essential components that help them learn are missing. These components include textbooks and learning schemes in which students can apply practical hands-on application. Without these components, it is difficult to learn and understand math because math helps students to think analytically and have advance cognitive abilities to think critically about the world around them, solve problems, and look for solutions. This project seeks to address these academic needs and create opportunities for students to have greater access to knowledge to achieve academic excellence. Six (6) students from the JHS will participate in a STEM training and then return to their school with improved knowledge and skills to lead a club that will be formed to provide a platform to share the information gained with other students. The teachers will chaperone the students' transportation from the local community to the STEM training and back.

The headmaster of the Junior High School in the Peace Corps Volunteer's community is committed to improving students’ test scores and performance through the implementation of the STEM project. The headmaster, teachers and students will work together to establish and maintain an Engineering and Mathematics Club based on the learning methods acquired by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in Ghana, with whom students from the community will engage with, for STEM best practices to improve their academic performance in technology, science, and mathematics. This endeavor is sustainable because the teachers and students' leaders will be responsible for following up with the students to ensure that the club is accessible, encouraging the students to share the knowledge gained from the NSBE training with other students during the club sessions. The inclusion of the students' leaders acknowledges that they, too, will learn how to organize, coordinate, and manage the club, which will strengthen the sustainability of the project for future participants. The students who participate in the NSBE training will run the club along with the assistance of the science teacher, headmaster, assistant headmaster, and the NSBE organizers. It is planned that the club will meet three times in a week. The success of the project will be measured by focusing on the student learning outcomes where the participants will be given a pre- and post-test assessments applicable to each subject to measure their level of knowledge before and after the training. The logic evaluation is an active practice to measure the outcome, based on the participants' acquired learning skills after the training or club meeting.

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