2014 Report: The USA BMX STEM Program at Marysville Elementary School Marysville Elementary School operated a USA BMX Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Program in January-March of 2014. Five students had the opportunity to attend the class that was held twice a week for 1.5 hours after school. Rain or shine, the students were enthusiastic and loved attending the program, with perfect attendance for each day it was held. Marysville coordinated a volunteer and local Portland cycling enthusiast, Travis, to conduct the program. Travis taught the provided USA BMX curriculum lessons, including sprinting techniques, bike traffic signals, differences between road and off-road tire treads, bike maintenance, and even assembling the bikes themselves. Travis said the curriculum, “gives them a little bit of a deeper understanding into the mechanics of the bike...it’s definitely very hands-on.” The curriculum focused on aligning “STEM” lessons with important biking techniques, like balance, speed, gravity, energy, and more.
Gina Kim-Folston, the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Program School Site Manager, said: “I think this program was so valuable in many different ways. First of all, we are a high poverty school so often times our students don’t have working bikes, or helmets to wear with their bikes. This gave an opportunity to five students to receive bikes. Many of our students don’t understand bike safety and I see kids riding bikes in the neighborhood without helmets. I know Travis talked a lot about bike safety. The combination of math and science is also very valuable. I skimmed some of the lessons prior to the class starting and I had never thought of bikes having so much math and science involved. What a great way to teach kids!” 90% of Marysville students qualify for free or reduced lunch rates, so a program like this is valuable in that it gives youth an opportunity that they otherwise would not have had. The five students who participated in the program were allowed to take the BMX bikes home after the conclusion of the program, which will give them an opportunity to keep learning while being physically active.
The USA BMX STEM program was an all-around success at Marysville Elementary, and would be a great fit for schools across Portland, the state of Oregon, and nationwide. It gives youth the ability to learn in more than just in the classroom, and a unique opportunity to stay healthy and active while learning.
CLICK HERE to check out a Video of the Marysville STEM program in action.
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