Katie Harris, who brings twelve years of experience to Siegel High School, was recently awarded the Richard Siegel Grant for more than $9,000. The grant will be used to help develop a curriculum involving robotics in the STEM pathway.
Harris has an all-encompassing curriculum that provides students with both problem-based and project-based learning opportunities for hands-on critical thinking and troubleshooting experiences in the classroom.
“STEM,” which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is a program that consists of four classes: Principles of Engineering and Technology, Engineering Design I, Engineering Design II, and Engineering Practicum.
When students leave Harris's class, the goal is for them to have a strong understanding of multiple engineering disciplines.
Recently, Harris and other Rutherford County high school STEM educators took part in a virtual symposium with a dozen industry experts. Those professionals within the engineering field offered guidance to the teachers in how to better prepare students in STEM-related fields.
Students in Mrs. Harris's classes learn about a wide variety of skills they would need and use as they progress towards an engineering or STEM-related career. Manual drafting, CAD, coding, robotics, app development, interior design, and creating solutions to real-world problems are just a few of the topics covered in the STEM pathway. The curriculum allows students to build prototypes, test design plans, and analyze data to draw conclusions.
After completing the pathway requirements, students will have participated in hands-on projects that teach them all about simple machines, fluid power systems, control systems, statistics, engineering economics, mechanisms, electrical systems, and so much more.
In the spring, Harris hopes to compete with some of her students' innovative design plans in a statewide competition sponsored by the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Students would present their inventions virtually this year similar to the entrepreneur television series Shark Tank.