Free Saturday STEM classes for South St. Petersburg elementary, middle school students
Bored on the weekends? Why not build a robot, design a computer program or learn to print objects in 3-D?
Pinellas Technical College will host the county's first free Saturday STEM Academy for elementary and middle school students in south St. Petersburg. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The academy will be held at PTC's St. Petersburg campus, 901 34th Street S., from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 5, March 12, April 2 and April 16. Students will also be treated to free breakfast.
The academy is only open to fourth and fifth graders at Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose elementary schools and all students at Bay Point, John Hopkins, Thurgood Marshall and Tyrone middle schools. Enrollment is capped at 40 elementary school students and 40 middle school students. Applications for all six sessions are due by Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. and seats are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
"We want them to do something fun on the weekends related to STEM and show them that they have many, many doors to open up by attending our academy," said Laura Spence, the Pinellas County school district's K-12 STEM specialist.
Spence said south St. Petersburg schools were chosen for the academy because of their proximity to PTC's campus. She said she hopes the academy will expand to PTC's Clearwater campus next year.
Project-based activities for all participating grades include robotics, coding and 3-D printing -- all skills that are in high demand by employers, Spence said.
She said the school district established a partnership with the district's Career, Technical and Adult Education program, "so students can see that they have many many pathways to different careers."
A celebration will be held on the last day of the academy, April 16, for students and their parents. Families will be able to tour the college.
And students' projects will be on display at the third annual Pinellas STEM expo at University of South Florida St. Petersburg.