About our Partnership

Our partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (BGCHR) started in February 2021. JMU students who are members of JMU STEM Corps visit two Harrisonburg City clubs on Friday afternoons to engage the BGCHR members in a STEM Foundations and Integrations curriculum. This partnership is funded by James Madison University and 2023 Madison Trust donor support.

Thermometer Lesson
Solar Bugs

We use a curriculum developed by STEM Center director Kerry Cresawn that aims to model real-world integration of the STEM disciplines & practices, incorporates standards-aligned foundations, and fosters ways of thinking in STEM.

Features of our updated curriculum for 2023-2024 include: 

  1. Integration of technology practices designed to motivate students to ask how technologies they will encounter in science and engineering work and to consider purpose, needs, and access when deciding between tools. We aim to lay foundations for this mindset by [1] providing opportunities for students to learn how technology tools work by building simple versions and comparing them to the digital tools and [2] identifying a familiar science principle as a logical context for our technology applications.  
  2. Modeling how information we find on maps informs how we address problems through STEM and how information gathered through STEM practices can informs maps. To develop these experiences, we are consulting Virginia History and Social Science Standards and literature on using maps for spatial thinking and learning.
  3. A learning progressions approach to engineering by [1] introducing the engineering design process and distinguishing between science and engineering practices (theme I), [2] modeling how the two disciplines are integrated in the real world to address problems (themes I & II), and [3] providing opportunities and a framework for students to develop a design-thinking mindset with a focus on the role that empathy and social awareness play in addressing problems through STEM. 
Sharing our Curriculum

We are excited about the interest many have expressed in our lessons. We plan to make our updated version of the curriculum openly accessible. Over the next few months, we will pilot the remaining lessons, use feedback from the facilitators and BGCHR staff for improvement, and consult with partnering K-5 formal classroom teachers on alignment and best-practices. This document will include all elements of the lesson, training materials we developed for our students, lists of materials with eVA-approved vendors, and reference to related VA standards. Please check back in July, 2024 for free access to this document. For more information on this, you can contact Dr. Kerry Cresawn (cresawko@jmu.edu).


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