Stem Night: Preparing CAVA Students for the Future

California Virtual Academies recently held its inaugural STEM fair on St. Patrick’s Day 2016 in Fountain Valley.

Students gathered at Beachpoint Church excited to work on fun and innovative projects where they were taught to apply concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM. CAVA, using the curriculum powered by K12, sees great importance in exposing their students to these concepts early in their educational career.

Tara Gayler, a CAVA teacher and coordinator of the fair, said the goal of the fair is to provide students with a head start and a leg up when attempting to successfully enter the rapidly expanding field of STEM-related jobs globally. She added that she wanted to make the projects fun, challenging and something the students and parents can easily replicate at home.

“Science can be intimidating to parents,” said Ms. Gayler.

So, to make the projects accessible, Ms. Gayler purposefully designed them with household items that could be purchased at the Dollar Store. “What I learned, I can incorporate into my classroom,” she said.

Students channeled their inner scientist and mathematician at eight stations positioned throughout the church where they solved a Tangram puzzle, tested a trampoline made out of rubber bands and a colander and built their own balloon tower.

For parents like Desiree Rojas, the STEM fair proved to be a valuable resource and a great way to spend the day, as the fair helped to cultivate the interest her son Mitchell, a CAVA second-grader, naturally has in math and science. “We do science at home and we do the experiments on our daily schedule,” Ms. Rojas said referring to the K12 curriculum. “This (STEM fair) is nice because this is more hands on and he gets to be with other kids.”

Gina Garland, a site coordinator for CAVA’s Community Day, said the STEM fair is important for preparing CAVA students for the jobs of the future.

“We need to be giving these students opportunities to work in STEM…. because these are the types of jobs that are going to be out there,” she said. “Getting them to think critically about STEM is really important.”

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