Meeker Middle School

​​​​​​​STEM in all classes raises student interest, develops creative problem-solvers

Twenty-four seventh-graders race to pick why the British Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773.

“Ooh, I got this!” a student exclaims as she looks at the multiple choice options on a black Asus tablet. When time runs out a bar graph pops up on each screen showing the right answer, to students’ cheers and groans.
​​​​​​​​
​Daniella Papirnik uses a tablet in Social Studies class.
​ ​​​
Every student at Meeker uses tablets during their social studies class. The initiative highlights the school’s transition to a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) school. STEM education​ integrates into the entire curriculum and empowers students for success through innovation, collaboration, creativity and problem solving.

“The tablets are introducing our students to one of the new tools of technology,” said Principal Tim Berndt. “It ties into the overall building commitment to using technology and making sure all kids are familiar with it.”

STEM in all classes 

Studies show that demand for STEM jobs is rising, but not enough workers qualify for the high-skilled, high-paying positions. At least 25,000 STEM and health care jobs are unfilled in Washington due to a lack of skilled workers and the number is projected to rise, according to the office of the governor.  
Meeker's staff incorporates STEM curriculum into all classes, popping up in art, music, PE and more.

In music class, teachers explain the science of sound’s frequency, wavelength and pitch. Eighth-grade art students design window latches for a competition sponsored by local business Milgard Windows & Doors. The elective “Exploring Technology” teaches students Computer Aided Design (CAD), an electronic design software widely used by engineers, architects and movie animators.
 
The school also offers a popular afterschool STEM club, where participants use three brand new 3D printers, which build three dimensional solid objects from digital files designed by students.

​“The process of 3D printing looks like a cross between a hot glue gun and a paintbrush,” said art teacher David Bader, whose students used the machines to design and print Seattle Seahawks rings.
 
​​​​
​STEM Club teacher David Bader stands by a 3D printer.
​ ​​​​​​​​​​
Principal Berndt seeks out new tools for students – and recently purchased inexpensive, remote-controlled flying drones for the film and journalism class.  
 
“We’re finding the items that best meet the needs of the kids to help them become creative problem solvers,” Berndt said. “We also talk about the responsibility that goes along with technology, and proper use of all our tools is a cornerstone of that.”
 
Sixth-grade student Quinn Springstead likes engineering, tinkering and building. He proudly described how he learned to use CAD software to design and build a Seahawks logo puzzle in class.
 
“It’s cool to make something and print it out,” he said. “I selected pre-engineering for my seventh grade elective, and I hope I get it.” 
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Get to know Meeker

Innovation Model: Meeker is transitioning to a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) school, preparing students to meet the challenges of the 21st century through innovation, collaboration, creativity and problem solving. Meeker is incorporating technological and curriculum changes to meet the evolving needs of students and the workforce. Students are encouraged to find new solutions to problems through creative problem solving. Meeker also offers an ongoing exchange program with a school in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Students best served: All students attending Meeker benfit from STEM learning.

Grades: 6-8

Students: 657

Teacher training:  

School report card

School Web site

Special and after-school programs: • ASB - Associated Student Body • AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination • CIA - Caught in Action: Doing SOmething Really Good • Cheer • New Zealand Student Exchange • Reading Buddies • RSVP - Raising Student Voice and Participation • SPARX - after school program helping students reach their potential • STEM Club

Related links:

• STEM Education Coalition


 

Designated Innovative School - Washington State