Inspired by a similar project in Fayette County, the Floyd County Board of Education is applying to potentially receive a STEM Bus — a mobile, interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning space to engage students.
“We had the opportunity come our way, and I’ll throw this out there first, with this project complete, we will be the only school district east of Lexington to have a STEM bus,” Superintendent Danny Adkins said. “Many of you older teachers remember having to check out a VCR to use for a class. The STEM bus will work the same way — a school can ‘check out’ the bus and it will remain parked in the parking lot for the whole day and is loaded with everything to support a STEM curriculum on the bus.
Adkins said that $75,000 worth of equipment has been purchased to support eight stations on the bus, a generator to run the stations on its own power, heating and cooling and a handicap lift to help special needs students.
“I have Jason King going over everything right now,” he said. “Everything will be touch screen and interactive. Without saying who our funding source is, because I don’t want to put them in a bad spot with other counties, this bus will not cost Floyd County a dime. The purchase of the bus and all associated equipment will cost approximately $200,000 and did not cost Floyd County one cent.”
He cited the example of other STEM projects throughout the district, including a recent STEM Night at South Floyd Elementary School.
“There were kindergartners learning about electrical circuits using play-dough that conducts electricity,” Adkins said. “Great things are happening when we get this STEM bus.”
The district’s goal is for the STEM Bus to reinforce what students are learning in their classrooms and to spark excitement about potential career paths.
“We believe that if students get the opportunity to do hands-on activities using STEM concepts, it will be easier for them to see themselves as future scientists, programmers, engineers and more,” Adkins said.
He reported that the bus is estimated to be ready to make its rounds to Floyd County Schools during opening day at the Mountain Arts Center and will be taken to the National Rural Education Conference in Louisville in September.