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New STEM Lab Up and Running At Livingston Middle

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
New STEM Lab Up and Running At Livingston Middle

Livingston Middle School has a new STEM Lab to give students hands-on access to coding and electrical circuits.

Assistant Principal Sarah Sullivan said the lab will give early exposure to STEM concepts that most kids would not learn about until high school, if ever. She said the lab is complete with state-of-the-art workstations and advanced technological equipment like robots and a 3-D printer.

“It’s really taking science and adding a more technical background to it,” Sullivan said. “With a lot of these students having a digital mind, it’s kind of giving them a lot of hands-on opportunities and exposure to things that they’ve never been exposed to before.”

Livingston Middle School Principal Doug Smith said with Livingston Academy’s new STEM building under construction, this is a much-needed introduction for younger students.

Smith said the lab valued at some $41,000 was funded largely by the Cal Ripken Jr. Foundation. He said the foundation reached out to Tennessee Tech’s Oakley Stem Lab, asking about local schools that could benefit from this. He said that given that Livingston and Overton County have made a strong push in STEM programming, they were Tech’s recommendation.

“Maybe even our students can share with the students from other schools in small groups what they’ve learned in the STEM lab,” Smith said. “So this will not just be for Livingston Middle School students even though it is housed here. We’re going to open it up to everyone in the school district.”

He said kids will already understand key STEM concepts before being thrown into the depths of technology and engineering at the high school level.

“It’s selling students that might have other opportunities to those other hands-on careers or trade programs,” Sullivan said. “You know, it’ll kind of open up those doors and avenues for them as well to kind of think beyond if they’re not wanting to go to college. Could I use these skills in another setting?”

Smith said he is in the early stages of planning field trips for other district schools to send students to practice with the technology available in the new lab. He said he is excited to be able to open doors for kids to learn real-world skills at the middle school level.


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