EDWARDSVILLE — The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Research, Education and Outreach is contributing to the development of a Swarovski Waterschool in the Southwestern Illinois region to emphasize safe water use, water education, and water sanitation and hygiene.
Directly aligning with the center’s mission to improve the quality of STEM education, the school will be on the campus of Lewis and Clark Community College’s National Great Rivers Research and Education Center along the Mississippi River. It will stand as Swarovski’s first and only site in the United States.
“We are thrilled to partner with Swarovski, Lewis and Clark Community College, and Goshen Education Consulting Inc. to offer Metro East students ages 8-15 the exclusive opportunity to learn about the intricacies and implications of water through an interactive, engaging curriculum,” said Sharon Locke, director of the SIUE STEM Center.
Development of the school is in its initial phase. The STEM Center is gathering data and conducting an analysis to determine how the programming will best suit the needs of educators and students.
“The middle school students we talked to were eager to learn more about the history and formation of the Mississippi River and how water safety is impacted by flooding,” Locke said. “They were also highly interested in pollution issues. It is clear these students want to understand more deeply the environment in which they’re living.”
The center is using its strong connections with school districts to provide insight on the ways in which the school’s curriculum should be tailored to fit the distinct educational needs of the region and the United States.
“One of the themes running through the Swarovski Waterschool curriculum materials is that these middle school students have an ability to be a focused voice in understanding issues of water and the potential to be ambassadors of change,” said Carol Colaninno-Meeks, assistant research professor in the SIUE STEM Center.
“Bringing STEM content to the curriculum is going to be a win-win,” Colaninno-Meeks said. “We’re excited to help teachers think about how the materials align with the Next Generation Science Standards, and assist them in integrating the experiential learning opportunities offered through the Swarovski Waterschool into STEM classrooms across the region.”