The Center for Excellence in STEM Education

The Center for Excellence in STEM Education Offers

Families High-quality STEM Education

The Center for Excellence in STEM Education (CESE) began providing high-quality STEM Education programs for students, families, and teachers within the Great Lakes Bay Region in 2015 before occupying a physical space known as the MakerSpace within the Education and Human Services building on the Central Michigan University campus in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

The generous financial support of both the university and Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation enables the Center to offer programs such as family events, summer day-camps, teacher professional development workshops, on-location school visits, and on-campus class field trips to the CMU MakerSpace (EHS 134) as a way of carrying out the Center’s mission to positively impacting mathematics, science, and engineering educators at all levels in Michigan and beyond through innovative partnerships, programs, and professional development opportunities. Additionally, the Center encourages the next generation of educators to allow for inquiry amongst their future students. This encouragement, along with first-hand experience working with children is embedded in the STEM Education Scholar Program.

Staying Virtually Connected for Parents

As a way to stay virtually connected as a community of makers during this time of eLearning and social distancing, CESE expedited their plans to provide STEM Sacks to students and families by having them available for pick-up outside the EHS Building on March 23rd. Additionally, CESE is posting a weekly calendar of STEM Activities to their website and social media platforms for students and families to use a combination of STEM Sack supplies and household materials. Given the challenge, families are invited to share a photo or video of the process or end result by commenting or tagging them on social media. Additionally, through occasional live videos, they are able to have more
“real-time” interactions.

CESE views making as a process of exploration and discovery and extends this approach to these invitations to make. Rather than providing families with complete step-by-step instructions, CESE encourages families to support children as makers. Leaving room for questions and learning from mistakes is often the appeal of hands-on learning – it’s just the location of the learning that has changed. Considering this change, the STEM Challenges are designed with typical household materials in mind. Families are invited to save recycled materials for future creative play, and students are encouraged to find creative solutions or substitutions as they participate.

Staying Virtually Connected for Teachers

Not only is the Center supporting students and families, they have also begun an online teacher training workshop modeled after an informal, face-to-face program they have facilitated for the past two years called MakerStudio. Throughout April and May, registered teachers have received their choice of one or both tech tools (Makey Makey and Edison Robots) to be covered in these virtual meet-ups. With one session complete, the CESE staff is excited to stay connected to their teachers and find ways to improve the distance learning experience. The teachers are able to take advantage of the time to engage with new materials.

Summer Programming

Currently, CESE is in the process of reworking summer programming options and is eager to find innovative and creative ways to support students and families to continue STEM learning and purposeful making during these trying times. The best way to stay aware of opportunities for students, families, and teachers is to follow the Center’s Facebook page and Instagram feed, or visit their website where information is available as well as the opportunity to subscribe to the Center newsletter, which will deliver the most current information directly to your inbox.