Dawn Klein, who teaches middle school math, leadership and STEM, has started STEM Club on Wednesdays after school at Arlington Public Schools (APS).
"It's in its infancy," she said. "In a school our size where you have sports and other activities it's finding the niche of kids not already consumed by other extracurriculars. The kids in the club would be primarily those taking the STEM class, with a few others who have come by and expressed an interest in it."
Klein, in her first year teaching at APS, is teaching STEM classes to seventh- and eighth-graders. She wants STEM Club to be available to everyone.
"I want it to be student driven and the individual students who want to explore it," she said. "I want them to get out of it something they are really interested in."
Sophomore Marco Carvajal is the "first official" STEM Club member, according to Klein.
"STEM Club is fun because it forces you to think and is nice and different from everyday school," he said.
STEM Club and classes can have impacts on the Students' futures.
"STEM provides a lot of opportunities to engage students in tasks, projects, hands-on learning type of scenarios that expand on knowledge they might have in a combination of science and math classes that can be related to something in the real world," Klein said. "It can possibly create an interest in fields like engineering that maybe the students wouldn't otherwise get exposed to."
Students in the STEM classes have the opportunity to work on unique projects.
"We learned about different disciplines of engineering at the beginning of the year," Klein said. "They made balloon-powered cars from scratch that were powered by air in one balloon, stay together, had to travel in a straight line at least five feet. I was blown away by the things they used to put these together."
Klein said some had it go more than 15 feet.
Seventh-graders also had the opportunity to learn about tech and math that went into Pixar Animation and learning about the different jobs.
Another project involved an abacus.
"The eighth-graders recently were doing history of math and wanted to learn about it," she said. "The kids make them from scratch and then taught the other kids about the different ways how to use the abacus."
Seventh-grader Kolby Tighe enjoys the STEM class.
"A lot of other classes are linear when you learn," he said. "It's just the way to do it. But with this you have a lot of creativity and influence to what your outcome is, and that's what I really love about this class. You have a lot of freedom to do as you please and experiment with all these things."