Booker T. Washington students experience traveling STEM lab

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Students at one Wichita Falls elementary school had the chance Thursday to experience mobile technology, thanks to a nonprofit that brings STEM education to under-resourced communities.

Booker T. Washington Elementary was one of 30 public schools in the entire state to receive a visit from Learning Undefeated, an education-focused nonprofit that has inspired more than one million students since 2003.

Science, technology, engineering and math, better known as STEM, is what Learning Undefeated provides to students across the country.

The nonprofit is partnering with the Texas Education Agency to bring this curriculum-style to schools like Booker T. Washington.

“We go town-to-town, place-to-place, kind of like rock stars, but not nearly as big, but we get to bring our giant mobile lab, and then we come and stay for about a week with the schools and teach engineering design challenge activities with the students,” Katie Askelson, Education Outreach Coordinator for Learning Undefeated, said.

Inside this mobile lab, kids were given the chance to build robots, build little houses as part of a souped-up Three Little Pigs story and even building space capsules. Askelson said activities like these can be beneficial for students of all ages.

“We want them to know that anyone can be an engineer, and if they want to be an engineer, they can do it — really, they can be anything they want in life; they just have to work really hard at it,” Askelson said.

That message was something that fourth grader Kaden McNeely took to heart while inside the lab.

“It’s fun, and it’s kind of helpful, so we can learn stuff when we go back in our real classroom,” McNeely said. “We’ll know that when we go out in the real world, we’ll know what to do.”

McNeely said fourth grade science and social studies teacher Cristina Manzel is to thank. Manzel wrote the grant in order to make the event possible.

“This still gives them, you know, the chance to get out of our normal, everyday classroom, and it gets them in another environment, and it’s right here in our parking lot,” Manzel said.

Manzel said even what she learned from the visit will impact her classrooms for future generations.

While the mobile STEM lab is focused on our elementary school kids, they do offer STEM projects for all grade levels.

If there are other educators out there who would like more information on how you can apply for a visit, check out their website here.

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