Laing Middle School of Science & Technology helps students become “STEM Thinkers”

Laing Middle School of Science and Technology is transforming the way students learn by helping them become “STEM Thinkers.”  Laing was named one of the top ten STEM schools and one of the top three STEM middle schools in the nation.  We’re in Mount Pleasant for our Cool School of the week.

STEM initiatives now have roots at Laing Middle School of Science and Technology.   The partial magnet school has a new state of the art facility, and recently became a STEM school.   Principal Jay Whitehair says, “We’re a STEM school. We utilize the tools of Science, Technology and Math in all subject areas in order to solve real world problems. This allows us to enhance the curriculum in English class, Social Studies, Class or a Fine Arts class.  We want our students to be able to solve problems, be put in real world scenerios, analyze situations and come up with creative products and really allows us to enhance the curriculum.”

Laing has a Fab Lab.  The Fab Lab is a resource for the entire school.  STEM coach Mel Goodwin is in charge of the Fab Lab. He says, “The Fab Lab is the place where we have all the tools kind of concentrated and we have things like 3-d printers, laser cutter, and  computer control milling machine and a lots of electronics and micro controllers, and we sort of train the teachers in what they can do and give the students some exposure to that.”

The lab contains a variety of 21st century fabrication tools that support the STEM philosophy.  it has a universal laser systems laser cutter, 3D printer, milling machine, digital cutters, and micro controllers and other electronics tools to make student projects move, talk, light up, and respond to the environment.  Principal Whitehair says, “It allows our kids to use technological tools beyond the Ipads and the computers in order to create products that make what they’re learning about come to life.”   All teachers and students have access.  Goodwin says, “What we try to do is to give our teachers and our students the opportunity to use some of the modern tools of manufacturing to enhance their teaching and their learning. Some days we have students making picture books for English class and installing electronics and lights into those.  Another day, we might have Social Studies making maps with the laser cutter.  We never know. It’s pretty exciting.”

Students old and new say the technology at Laing makes learning more interesting and engaging.   Seventh-grade student  Lia  Khachatryan moved to the U.S. from Armenia.  She says, “I personally first learned about STEM when I got here to the U.S. last year. I thought it would be hard for me to fit in, but because of STEM it opened higher order of thinking and interest in education,  which was missing in my country.  I love STEM.  I realize it’s a huge part of  my everyday life.  Principal Whitehair says it gives students opportunities to use these tools to solve real-world problems also helps them discover new interests and talents that might lead to careers in  stem professions. “Here at Laing STEM is not just about machines, it’s about kids challenging themselves.  We get to build whatever we learn, and that gives us a visual of what we learn,” says, Lia.

Laing Middle School of Science and Technology is a Palmetto Gold award winning school with an excellent rating on the state’s school report card.

Laing offers a variety of courses, including Marine Science, Forensic Science, Medical Detectives, and Lego Robotics.

Students recently won first place in the CCSD middle school math bowl.

Coming up Friday, we’ll present the Laing Middle School of Science and Technology Braves with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things that are going on at your school, just send an email to Octavia at omitchell@wcbd.com.

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