Jump Into STEM!

Jump-Into-StemJump into STEM! just got ramped up a notch. SkillsUSA members across the nation are engaging in STEM-related activities with fourth- and fifth-graders using the Jump into STEM! curriculum. Newly released Jump into STEM! lessons provide opportunities to engage first- to third-grade students and middle-school students in STEM-related activities. Jump into STEM! provides an opportunity for SkillsUSA members to engage middle-school students and create an open door to recruitment for high-school career and technical education (CTE) programs. Recruit students into your program with engaging, hands-on learning provided by current SkillsUSA members.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is a buzzword in education. There is high demand and significant earning potential for STEM-related jobs. Study after study shows this situation will only worsen unless more people are trained in these careers. One reason for the shortage is that many people are intimidated by STEM-related jobs. What many don’t realize is, within the STEM spectrum is a diversity of careers, one of which may be an ideal match for their interests and talents.

SkillsUSA recognizes the value of supporting business and industry in generating interest for STEM careers beyond its membership. Based on valuable feedback, we built a bridge between STEM and skilled labor among students at the elementary- and middle-school levels. When considering who should build that bridge, we looked to
SkillsUSA members, hence the birth of our program: Jump into STEM!

While many schools participate in STEM initiatives, most lack programming with a direct link to specific careers. Jump into STEM! fills that need by providing an option for schools to incorporate career-focused learning either during or after school. Elementary-age and middle-school participants take part in dynamic and interactive experiences facilitated by SkillsUSA members. These members will experience personal growth relative to the SkillsUSA Framework while sharing information on subjects they are passionate about, including SkillsUSA. An additional benefit of the program is the chance to educate elementary and middle-school administrators, counselors, teachers and parents about STEM careers, career and technical education (CTE) and SkillsUSA.

All Jump into STEM! materials are detailed and organized to make facilitation simple, yet power-packed with information that will engage participants in meaningful and intentional learning. Implementation is both straightforward and rewarding. You and your students are the key to getting STEM into classrooms across America.

Curriculum overview

State Farm, as a special project of the SkillsUSA Foundation, has generously sponsored the training and resources for Jump into STEM! State Farm believes all students deserve access to a quality education that will allow them to reach their greatest potential, help them become good community citizens and prepare them for the workforce.

Thanks to State Farm, the Jump into STEM! curriculum provides 44 interactive and memorable sessions. Each session is written to introduce elementary students to different STEM careers and career clusters, and to the value of SkillsUSA. During the sessions, chapter members introduce themselves, present activities that engage student learning, and share specific career cluster and occupational information. The highlight of each session is a hands-on learning activity. All sessions conclude with review questions. Members also have an opportunity to speak about their SkillsUSA experience and present information about the local chapter.

The curriculum includes sessions for each career cluster. Since the STEM career cluster is incorporated into the entire curriculum, sessions focus on 11 career clusters. Each session is designed to be 20 minutes long, but can be adapted as needed. Sessions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Architecture and Construction: Electrician
  • Architecture and Construction: Architect
  • Arts, A/V Technology and Communications: Animation artist
  • Arts, A/V Technology and Communications: Commercial photographer
  • Education and Training: High-school science teacher
  • Education and Training: Museum conservator
  • Health Science: Exercise physiologist
  • Health Science: Medical lab technologist
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Zoo exhibit designer
  • Hospitality and Tourism Dietitian
  • Human Services: Market research analyst
  • Human Services: Psychologist
  • Information Technology: Social media specialist
  • Information Technology: Computer programmer
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security: Fingerprint identification technician
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security: Paramedic
  • Manufacturing: Industrial designer
  • Manufacturing: Assembler
  • Marketing: Brand manager
  • Marketing: Technical sales engineer
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: Logistician
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: Airline pilot
Application of the SkillsUSA Framework

The benefits of Jump into STEM! for elementary and middle-school students are numerous, as are the rewards for
SkillsUSA members. Preparing for and facilitating these sessions integrates several essential elements of the SkillsUSA Framework. Chapter members will have an opportunity to practice professionalism, leadership and excellent communication when interacting with teachers and students. Planning, organizing and managing skills will be put to the test as members prepare to work with younger students. Presenters will practice adaptability and flexibility when facilitating activities. Members must respond to changes in time frame, location, student numbers and more. Finally, some sessions involve the use of computers and tablets. Members will improve skills of computer and technology literacy while assisting students with activities. And, these are just a few.

How to use the curriculum

The Jump into STEM! curriculum may be used in a variety of ways. The key is to adapt the sessions to the needs of younger students and chapter members. Facilitating one session will start the journey of career exploration. Facilitating multiple sessions will broaden the journey.

Your chapter may include Jump into STEM! on the CEP (Chapter Excellence Program) application. Throughout the guide are examples of goals, plans of action and results. Use these to help your chapter incorporate the project into your application. Jump into STEM! can be used in any of the three framework components. The correct choice for your chapter will depend on your goals and focus.

Jump into STEM! is a free member benefit as part of payment of SkillsUSA professional membership dues. Ensure that you provide your current email address when submitting your membership so that you can receive Jump into STEM!