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Rosspoint students investigate career possibilities

Rosspoint Elementary School students in Hobie Boggs’ classes spend their Fridays exploring without even leaving the classroom.

Students at Rosspoint are participating in the Learning Blade program sponsored by Gear Up, which introduces them to careers, tools and technologies found throughout STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

“The program uses STEM related activities to keep students engaged,” Boggs said. “The students seem to enjoy it and they have been performing better on my tests.”

Boggs said Rosspoint started the career-oriented program after Christmas due to the Gear Up grant and would continue for the next several years.

“The eighth-graders are working on a program called ‘Flu Outbreak,’ where they work as doctors and scientists to try to prevent the flu from spreading. They are investigating what to do to prevent it and what steps people can take to stop from passing it on,” he said.

Learning Blade is owned and operated by Thinking Media, which has assembled a team of accomplished professionals in the STEM, education and technology space that have “tremendous backgrounds and extreme success in achieving results,” according to the Learning Blade Web site.

The program is designed to provide engaging resources that will expose students to STEM-related career opportunities and help them develop key skills as they move forward. This approach to STEM education focuses on activities that can be utilized both in a self-paced game environment and as practice in academic classrooms. An interactive tool kit combines multiple components for each mission:

• STEM Skills – each activity is presented in a real-life context which highlights how STEM skills are used in the real world.

• Hands-On Exercises – projects, activities and design thinking problems help students to see the application of STEM to practical problems

• Career Exploration – each activity links to real-life STEM careers and allows the student to explore both the characteristics and demands of various STEM related fields.

• Academic Relevance – each activity exercises specific academic skills and is directly correlated to academic standards, showing students why school matters.

Learning Blade aims to be an effective resource useful to the entire teaching staff, including language arts, mathematics, social studies and science teachers.

Bryan Howard, the principal at Rosspoint, says Learning Blade provides information to students about careers they may not have found without the program.

“I think it allows students to see jobs out there they may not have known existed,” he said. “It gives them four lessons, one each in social studies, science math and language in each career. Exposure is the key. There are a lot of jobs out there people just don’t know about.”

“The program is easy to work and keeps my interest,” said Rosspoint eighth-grader Cooper McHargue. “It is a fun way to learn.”