Kid Spark Education has partnered with local philanthropists to provide funds for up to 20 elementary schools in San Diego County to implement Kid Spark's elementary STEM education program—valued at approximately $12,000 per school—in 2019/20.
You can bring research-based, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to your elementary school students...for free! Keep reading to learn more about how you can participate, or skip down to the application.
Kid Spark empowers preK-5 teachers to implement hands-on, collaborative STEM lessons in their classroom without the need for a specialized STEM background. Through a research-based curriculum and innovative engineering materials, students establish STEM identity (seeing one’s self as capable of learning science, technology, engineering, and math) and experience technology fluency (confidence to creatively author with technology to solve problems). The Kid Spark program is designed to be self-sustaining after the initial implementation.
The Kid Spark Elementary Program impacts students and teachers in the following ways:
“I’m in my second year of teaching engineering concepts with Kid Spark to kindergartners. I am amazed at how easily the students learn and start applying math, science and engineering concepts with Kid Spark. Since the concepts are taught in the context of designing, building and improving various types of structures, students are motivated to apply these concepts immediately in order to improve their creations. Everyone is engaged and everyone improves his/her knowledge about designing strong and useful structures.”
Teacher at Chollas Mead Elementary School, San Diego, CA
The elementary program covers the first two phases of our preK-8th grade curriculum. As your students progress through the STEM lessons, they engage in key engineering practices that include gathering information, explaining how things work, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Educators mentor students to develop foundational capacities prerequisite to all STEM learning, like spatial reasoning, problem-solving, and symbolization. While many students learn these fluencies at home, this phase helps fill in critical gaps that may exist, especially for underserved students.
Units of Instruction
Students begin exploring important STEM topics such as applied mathematics, mechanical engineering, and robotics. Students focus on intuitive STEM concepts like how to make things strong and how to make things move. As a result, kids gain confidence in their ability to use technology to design solutions to problems.
Units of Instruction
Kid Spark STEM programs teach the practices and cross-cutting concepts used for all scientific learning as prescribed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Goodbye, popsicle sticks! Kid Spark's robust and reusable labs are organized and unintimidating; the larger scale elements allow for collaborative learning. The entire curriculum can be taught using the same two labs year after year, across grade levels and topics. Labs can be stacked on top of one another and simply rolled to where you need it. One lab serves four students.
Supports the preK-5th grade curriculum.
Early lessons focus on foundational fluencies that include reading step-by-step instructions, symbolization, measuring, patterns, and symmetry. Students then transition into more challenging concepts like how to make things move, how to make things strong, applied mathematics, the design and engineering cycle, and other foundational fluencies key to building their STEM identity.
Supports the 3-8th grade curriculum.
Later lessons focus on mechanisms and movement, applied mathematics, programmable robotics and computational thinking, simple and compound machines, and rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Students drive their own learning through hands-on design and engineering challenges by defining problems, asking questions, and challenging their own thinking to learn through iteration.
Many general education teachers have some anxiety about teaching STEM programs, especially if they don't have specialized training in STEM. But with Kid Spark, any teacher can master what it takes to become a STEM mentor.
When you participate in the Emerging Engineers Project, Kid Spark will help you develop your capacities as a STEM mentor in the following ways:
Fall 2019 Cohort
Winter 2020 Cohort
Teacher buy-in is critical to the success of the project. We're happy to attend a school staff meeting to give a 20-minute hands-on demo and answer any questions teachers might have. Once your school decides you want to participate and you meet the qualifications listed below, your school can submit a brief application, located at the bottom of this page.
Still have questions? Please contact Jena Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.