How might we maintain interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) among 7th graders?
The answer: start a revolution, of course!
The Revolution208 One Stone group took a scientific approach to the problem of STEM education. After two years of thorough research, issue identification, and testing—Revolution208 became one of the most innovative solutions yet. Inspired by popular dystopian books and movies as well as an innate curiosity to solve problems, Revolution208 created an interactive event infused with a deep storyline and spy games.
In an effort to provide local students with STEM positive experiences, One Stone students devised Revolution208: Unlock STEM. In this all day, experiential learning venture, 7th graders from four schools identified as needing more STEM experiences were taught new STEM skills and asked to solve puzzles and decipher riddles to conquer the dystopian plotline.
Armed with STEM skills, recipients worked with One Stone members to spread access to STEM within the dystopian story by mastering various puzzles that would unlock a mysterious briefcase. While finding and interpreting clues leading to four STEM-related businesses throughout the Treasure Valley (including Bricks and MiniFigs, Green Speed Research, MetaGeek and Micron), students practiced engineering, mastered order of operations, performed a science experiment, and operated new technology. Recipients even received a crash course in binary decoding to solve their final puzzle- opening the briefcase and unlocking STEM for good. Revolution208: Unlock STEM exposed recipients to real businesses in the Treasure Valley and to the different environments in which STEM work is done.
After being exposed to STEM in a positive, non-traditional way, students’ attitudes began to change. In the midst of a Lego engineering problem, one recipient caught herself saying, “I need a mathematical equation… I’ve never said those words in my life!”
Data from pre and post surveys showed a 60% increase in students who strongly agreed with the statement, “I can see myself pursuing STEM fields later in life.” 100% of students reported that they would recommend Revolution208:Unlock STEM to a friend, even if that friend doesn’t currently like STEM.
In the One Stone Team’s words:
“When the recipients started solving the puzzles we created, it was the most fulfilling and amazing feeling!”
“I’m so proud of the work that we did and the way the group came together and worked as a team to solve problems.”
“It’s been a long process, but we came up with some new ways to tackle this problem—and I think it worked!”