Alvin ISD’s Explorer Bus toprovide STEMexperiences to students
Bus details The idea for the STEM Explorer Bus goes as far back as 2016, when the district undertook a similar endeavor with its book bus, Pasarella said. The district’s book bus travels across dierent neighborhoods within AISD’s boundaries to bring books to students, she said. The STEM Explorer Bus aims to capture the same concept by promot- ing STEM programs instead, she said. The need to promote STEM within the district has been a focal point for AISD and was highlighted by state and district State of Texas Assess- ments of Academic Readiness scores in 2019-20, Pasarella said. In AISD, 60% of students in all grades met or exceeded grade level in science STAAR scores. For the math STAAR, 51% of all students in the district met or exceeded grade level, according to the Texas Academic Performance Report for the 2019-20 school year. “AISD is committed to our student success in STEM, be it engineering, computer science or health care,” Price said. “All of these AISD [career and technical education] programs are preparing students for STEM jobs of the future, some of which have not been created yet.” Once the bus is introduced, it will tour schools across the district in the nal weeks of the academic year to oer students and teachers a rst look ahead of its summer schedule, which includes traveling between E.C. Mason, Bel Nafegar Sanchez
BY ANDY YANEZ
Alvin ISD students will soon be a walking distance away from coding and programming robots, exploring the glaciers of Antarctica and even traveling to the outer reaches of the solar system through the district’s STEM Explorer Bus. AISD’s STEM Explorer Bus, which will teach students about science, technology, engineering and mathe- matics, will be unveiled prior to the district’s May 10 board meeting, said Ana Pasarella, the district’s director of family and community engage- ment. The district aims to use the bus to expose students to various STEM experiences, said Erica Price, AISD’s career and technical educa- tion department director. “This STEM bus is an exciting, mobile STEM experience for all our kids to explore,” Price told Commu- nity Impact Newspaper . “One thing we aim to continue working on in AISD is bringing more STEM engage- ment to our younger scholars at the elementary level.” The bus will boast nine dierent stations, including augmented and virtual reality; 3D printing; robotics; drones; and ISS Above, which was donated by NASA and will allow students to track the International Space Station, Pasarella said. The district raised $140,000 for the project, Pasarella said, which came from over 20 sponsors, both corporate and local, such as the AISD Education Foundation, TMobile and Phillips 66.
The Alvin ISD STEM Explorer Bus will be ocially unveiled May 10.
RENDERINGS COURTESY ALVIN ISD
ALL ABOARD The Alvin ISD STEM Explorer Bus is decked out with 5G technology for internet connectivity, and the plan is for it to travel to dierent schools. $140K is the amount Alvin ISD raised for the bus.
sponsors contributed to the project, including AISD Education Foundation.
stations are on the bus, including ISS Above, which tracks the International Space Station.
Some of the bus’s stations will be done outdoors, including the drones.
SOURCE: ALVIN ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
and Bill Hasse elementary schools during the district’s summer school programs, Pasarella said. AISD will use the summer to make adjustments for the 2022-23 year, she added. Additionally, the district is launch- ing a high school internship program open to rising 11th- and 12th-graders interested in any of the STEM elds. The students will be tasked with facilitating the bus, such as being in charge of the stations, Pasarella said.
The bus’s programs will be overseen by a certied teacher dedicated to the bus only, she said. “The idea is to have all that technology available to the schools,” Pasarella said. “The bus is going to be going to the schools throughout the year, and the students and the teachers are going to be able to [have] science, math, technology and engineering inside of the bus and be exposed to all of this.”
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