Last week, the students of West Leesville Elementary School took part in a STEM Day Hands-On Workshop. STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are among the most lucrative and sought after skill sets in the professional world.

The students had the opportunity to build circuit demonstration boards and were led by STEM Educator David Sproles. He touted the two-day workshop as a success and expressed pride in the young student’s aptitude and skills.

“Success means the students drove nails, used a soldering iron several times, and used alligator clip leads to make demonstration circuits on their new boards. They learned that bulbs in a parallel circuit are brighter than a series circuit.  They also learned about a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.”

The students also learned about safety and were supervised by teachers and volunteers throughout the process.

Sproles emphasized the safety of the Workshop and the diligence of the volunteers.

“Before the students were allowed to use the soldering irons, they were given safety glasses and provided training on safe practices,” he said. “These safe practices were demonstrated, and then reinforced by the teen helpers, who provided soldering safety supervision.”

There were 16 students from ages 8-10 years old who participated in the workshop.

West Leesville Elementary Teachers Millie Ballagh and Tammy Shelton spoke about what it means to them to see these students take an interest in STEM.

“I just think it is great that we have these older kids come and help these younger kids,” said Shelton. “We appreciate them, and Mr. Sproles is a great man who teaches from the heart.”

“This workshop has been amazing,” said Ballagh. “I think this is going to change the way these kids look at science and possibly inspire their future careers.”

Ballagh is a Gifted Honors Class Teacher at West Leesville Elementary and said that she was amazed to see how attentive and invested the students were during the workshop.

Everyone involved with the workshop seemed to enjoy themselves, and it seemed to light a spark of inspiration in the minds of young students.