STEM Classes: Forging A Better Future for Oak Middle School Students

Mr. Seann Schiele, Oak Middle School STEM teacher, stands in front of the 3D printers in his classroom.

Mr. Seann Schiele, Oak Middle School STEM teacher, stands in front of the 3D printers in his classroom.

STEM. You have probably heard about the growing field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But did you know that Oak offers students many learning opportunities to explore their interest in STEM? 

Mr. Seann Schiele, the STEM teacher at Oak Middle School, had an interesting take on why students are so interested in STEM currently: “STEM is such a buzzword right now that they want to be a part of whatever technology is being used.” Schiele elaborated, describing how the 3D printers and other advanced technology used draws in students in droves. 

Oak offers a beginners class for sixth-grade students that acts as a way for younger students to test the waters of their STEM potential, a seventh-grade and eighth-grade class that focuses on software and game design, and a seventh-grade and eight-grade class directed on creating products and learning about the hardware side of STEM. 

These STEM classes are usually full to the brim with excited students, but there are a lot of diverse benefits to these classes. There is the benefit of digital literacy, or the ability to use and communicate information online. 

There is also experience in advanced programs, but that barely even scratches the surface of the possibilities STEM unlocks for students. Mr. Schiele stated thoughtfully that the computer numerical control (CNC) machine “is such a big technology right now, even if you don’t want to go to a college or university and you want to work in a manufacturing plant, if you know how to run a CNC machine they pay really, really well.”

Mr. Schiele explained that when he was in school he saw engineering as something unreachable. It involves math and physics, complicated topics for many students. However, he learned that engineering is more of a design process. Mr. Schiele stated he would have benefitted as a student if he had had classes like these. 

It is a beautiful thing that students are being exposed to STEM early and experiencing it first-hand. Oak students will eventually be able to also take more advanced STEM classes at Los Alamitos High School. Even if students decide not to pursue STEM as a career, they will have gained valuable life-long skills that will benefit them in every aspect of their life.