Monday, May 20

Fort Pierce science classroom gets major makeover thanks to Florida Power & Light

Students at Lakewood Park Elementary School in Fort Pierce have new opportunities to explore the world of science and technology that many wouldn’t have otherwise.

Florida Power and Light awarded the school a $50,000 grant to do a science classroom makeover and enhance their teaching experiences.

Thursday, leaders from FPL, St. Lucie Public Schools, the Education Foundation of St. Lucie County and Lakewood Park Elementary School gathered to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the school’s STEAM classroom science, technology, engineering, art and math.

It’s a classroom all students visit once a week, and it’s teacher Caitlin McMahon’s pride and joy.

“I’m so spoiled,” she said of her new classroom materials.

The grant from FPL, with support from the Education Foundation of St. Lucie County, made it possible to give her students endless possibilities they didn’t have before.

“I dont feel limited, I feel if we wanna do it, theres a way to do it,” McMahon said.

She used some of the money to buy robots for the classroom, a smart board, a cart full of supplies, 3D printer, and more.

“We are so tailored with social media that we are never bored, we never have the chance to think outside the box,” McMahon said. “This STEAM allows them to think outside the box and learn hands on.”

As part of the celebration, FPL team members taught the students how to build their own generators. Fifth grade student Jionni Morrison enjoyed participating in the generator building competition.

“I think it’s really cool. It’s like a learning experience,” he said.

He looks forward to STEAM class every week.

“The amount of stuff we get done and she adds in a little bit of fun just to tie everything together,” he said.

Half of the grant money was used on the classroom materials and the other half was used to send every student on a science-related field trip this school year. The fifth graders went to Kennedy Space Center and some had never been out of the county before.

“Its just heartwarming and you feel overwhelmed a little bit, overwhelmed with happiness for them. Its more than materials, its experiences. Being able to give our kids experiences they would not have had without this grant is what is so exciting for us,” Principal Kathleen Melrose said. “Kids looking at things, going wow, I can do this and they are not afraid to do it. So, its a comfortable environment for them to learn and explore and reach a potential they didnt know they were capable of reaching.”

She said these experiences help foster a new sense of confidence that can take students where ever they want to go.

“Things like this is what gives kids a path to know I can do this, Im capable of this and maybe my dream can come true as well,” Melrose said.

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