Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – In celebration of National Engineers Week (February 19-25), about 2000 Lancaster ISD elementary, middle and high school students will attend a private viewing of the Oscar-nominated biographical movie, Hidden Figures as a part of their innovative learning curriculum.
Hidden Figures chronicles the life of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and her colleagues who were human computers critical to the success of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission in 1962.
For Lancaster ISD students, this is much more than a visit to view a movie. It is yet another timely opportunity to inform, engage, and raise the awareness of STEM career pathways and to increase college readiness.
Lancaster ISD Executive Director of Academics and Innovation Kyndra Johnson explained, “As the only T-STEM district in the state of Texas, our students in Pre-K -12th grades experience STEM-focused learning every day and we are consistently connecting them to real world experiences, career pathways and educating them with industry standard knowledge to ensure that they are college ready and career prepared.”
Prior to seeing the movie, students participated in related classroom lessons and discussions. In addition to viewing the movie, students will complete pre and post lessons and activities in math, writing, history, science, technology, art, and STEM careers. Their teachers have created engaging lessons that integrate critical thinking, communication, and creativity.
Making these classroom to careers connections is a critical part of what teachers in the district do each day and thanks to a generous donation from one of its STEM Education partners—the Texas Instruments Foundation, Lancaster ISD students are able to connect attend this screening and have had other immersive learning experiences all designed to open up a whole new world of possibilities.
This innovative learning concept is in alignment with the vision of Lancaster ISD which is that all students will achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy. The past five years of STEM implementation have served as the primary transformation lever for engaging students in rigorous, relevant, inquiry-based, technology-rich learning experiences that promote their college and career readiness.
“We have taken about 500 students to NASA Space Center where they have met with engineers, scientists, and technologists. Numerous students have successfully participated in design challenges for computer science, engineering and robotics,” Johnson said. “And middle and high school students built a road-approved race car and now some of them are building an airplane.”
Each Lancaster ISD elementary campus has a STEM-focus pipeline in either Health Science Technology, Engineering, Information Systems and Software Designs, or Global Arts Communications and Entrepreneurship. Its sixth grade and middle school campuses provide exposure to all areas of STEM Education and the high school campus provides the opportunity for students to further dissect their STEM pipeline into more specialized fields and to obtain real-world training and certifications prior to graduation.
All campuses are also equipped with campus clubs and organizations that include gaming, robotics and coding, just to name a few.
For Johnson, this is a chance for students to unpack the tools that they have been given and connect the dots.
“As educators, we seek to create opportunities for our students that will engage and ignite the fire of lifelong learning,” she said. “This experience is another intentional way to underscore and emphasize the constant learning experiences of our students and will allow them to see the value and hopefully inspire some of them to actually pursue this area as a career.”
The Lancaster Independent School District serves more than 7,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 11 schools. Our vision is that all students achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy. And our mission, in collaboration with parents and communities, is to ignite learning that translates into sustainable success for all students in an ever-changing society.
422 S. Centre Ave. ● Lancaster, TX 75146 ● (972) 218-1400