elementary school

HANDS-ON LEARNING

 
 A Columbia Sportswear volunteer at Reedville Elementary in Hillsboro, Oregon

Bringing the outdoors to the indoors
Columbia Sportswear connects math and science to textiles at Reedville Elementary

 
 

As early as third grade, students who are historically underserved are learning that math and science aren't for them. This sets them on a path toward eventually leaving school without a plan for their future.

Our STEM Connect 4/5 changes that narrative. The program engages 4th and 5th graders in learning experiences that increase their interest and change their mindset about math and science.

How it works

The program creates a close relationship between a company and a local school that has a disproportionate number of students who are historically underserved. The In4All team sets up the partnership, helps define the activities, trains volunteers, attends classroom sessions, and follows up to evaluate the experience.

When business volunteers come into the classroom, they lead a hands-on learning activity related to their industry showing how they use math and science in their jobs. Not only do volunteers have a great time being an "educator for the day" four times a year, but they play an important role in engaging students to imagine new possibilities for themselves.

The impact

An independent evaluation of the STEM Connect 4/5 program showed it successfully improves student attitudes toward math and science, and increases their interests in those fields. The improvement is especially strong among students who had a neutral or negative attitude before the program experience.