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Columbus City Schools Partners Up to Encourage Westside Students to Explore STEM

Middle School STEM Days investigation

March 24, 2023 -- A crime of fairy tale proportions has occurred at Starling PreK-8 — someone stole porridge from three bears. The prime suspect? Goldilocks. The lead investigator on the case, sixth-grade student Adrillonna Ford-Golden, spent her morning studying the crime scene – a table with empty bowls – and analyzing evidence. Once she finished her analysis, she matched the crime with the fairy tale.

Fingerprints“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve watched it on TV,” Ford-Golden said. “I’ve always wanted to do this; I want to be a crime investigator.”

Ford-Golden’s investigation was part of Middle School STEM Days, a collaboration between Columbus City Schools, the PAST Foundation, and the Office of Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. This strong partnership brings learning opportunities to several of the District’s westside middle schools. During the program, students engaged in hands-on activities in different STEM disciplines, including 3D printing, robotics, and, as Ford-Golden experienced firsthand, forensics. 

Region I Matriculation Coordinator Scott Thorne said bringing this unique learning opportunity into the classroom is beneficial for students who may not have explored these concepts before.

“We want to expose them to STEM activities and programs. These activities are things they don’t always get to do in a normal school day,” Thorne said. “Bringing these types of programs into the school can show them what career opportunities they can have in the future.”

Although middle schoolers still have several years before graduation, Career and Technical Education Curriculum Coordinator Christopher Daniel said CCS wants to get kids interested in different career fields from a young age. The program is an opportunity to build a framework for their futures after high school.

“By providing our students with hands-on learning, we give them the chance to understand what a career in these different fields could look like,” Daniel explained. “We are helping our students set the foundation for their post-high school successes.”

Ford-Golden said when she is older, forensics is something she is interested in studying for her career. Kathy Wright, STEM Coach with the PAST Foundation, said she hopes this event helps students to develop their STEM identities as Ford-Golden has.

“The work is around how we create more access to high-quality opportunities. We’re making intentional connections to careers so that students can see themselves in these spaces when they finish school,” Wright explained. 

Westmoor and Wedgewood Middle Schools will host additional Middle School STEM Days later this year. 

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology