U.B. KINSEY SECME TEAM HAS REAL GIRL POWER
They didn’t plan on an all-girls SECME team at U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts, but sometimes things just work out that way, and the young ladies are relishing the opportunity to work together.
“The boys are more drawn to sports for their extra-curricular activities, but SECME is a great way to express yourself,” the girls explain as they work to recruit a team for next school year. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re learning.”
SECME, which encompasses Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics, and Enrichment, was created to prepare traditionally underserved students with hands-on STEM experience and create a workforce to fill high-demand jobs. If you ask the girls, however, it’s just fun.
The team practices four days a week, preparing for trivia-style games like the Brain Bowl, designing a mousetrap-propelled car that eases its way across the media center floor, in addition to launching water-propelled rockets, creative and poetry writing and using their artistic talents to design a flag and T-shirt.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson the girls have learned is working together to solve a problem. During last month’s SECME Olympiad, their design didn’t go as planned and a broken project had them scrambling. “They worked it out,” said Chandrea Gaskin-Knowles, the team’s sponsor. “They work together, share opinions and different perspectives and are respectful of each other.”
Gaskin stresses that win or lose, the skills that the girls are learning will make them more proficient in math, science and literacy and will prepare them for college and career.
The girls admit that for some students, the SECME team may be a tough sell as they explain to the new recruits that there is research and essay writing involved. “It’s a good use of our free time,” said Kayci Estelle. “You’re looking at education but then you realize O-M-G, this is fun!”