Grant encourages STEM education in Ottumwa High School math class

Educators in Iowa are implementing STEM technology and education in the classroom early, to get students thinking about careers in science, technology, engineering and math long before college.

Brooke Fischels, a math teacher at Ottumwa High School, recently received a grant from the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics to incorporate technology into the classroom.

The grant is for $500 and, coupled with a $150 grant Fischels received from the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership, will be used to buy materials for a hands-on project. The students will be constructing their own mini wind turbines, using their math skills to make adjustments and analyze data.

Working hands-on in groups is a different experience in a calculus class and something new from book work, which Fischels said she thinks the students will enjoy.

"We very rarely get to do a truly hands-on laboratory in a mathematics class and this is something that will allow them to get true experience, the trial and error part of it, maybe use mathematics in a different way that they had not perceived they could use it for," she said. "A lot of the students in these upper-level classes are really, truly interested in engineering, so I hope it gives them a sneak peek into what might be in their future, so it's a new type of experience and I think this type of grant will afford us opportunities that we don't normally get."

Fischels said the project will also be great for an end of the year activity, to keep students actively engaged before summer break.