Every year at the University of Tulsa, a remarkable event unfolds, bringing together the rich tapestry of Native American culture and the boundless potential of STEM fields. The Native American STEM Competition celebrates innovation, knowledge, and tradition, where indigenous students from diverse backgrounds converge to showcase their talents and expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This unique event not only highlights the remarkable achievements of Native American youth in these fields but also serves as a platform for fostering collaboration, inspiring future leaders, and nurturing a deeper understanding of the intersection between tradition and modernity in the Native American community. At the University of Tulsa, this annual competition represents a commitment to inclusivity and a recognition of indigenous scholars’ vital contributions to the ever-evolving STEM landscape.
In addition to celebrating the achievements of Native American students in STEM, the Native American STEM Competition at the University of Tulsa strongly emphasizes teacher professional development. Recognizing that educators are key influencers in shaping their students’ educational journey, this event component empowers teachers with the tools, resources, and knowledge needed to inspire and support the next generation of indigenous scientists, engineers, and innovators. The Tulsa Youth Rowing Association was invited to present its RowingSTEM curriculum this year.
The Tulsa Youth Rowing Association (TYRA) has developed an innovative RowingSTEM curriculum and program that intertwines the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with the sport of rowing. This program offers high-quality educational experiences aimed at middle and high school students. It focuses on enhancing STEM competencies while promoting overall wellness. The curriculum is designed to be interdisciplinary, connecting STEM fields with the technology and techniques of rowing. This approach provides a practical and engaging way for young people to improve their STEM skills.
The RowingSTEM app, available for iOS devices, is an innovative tool developed by Power Ten Development, LLC, in partnership with the Tulsa Youth Rowing Association. This app enhances STEM learning among youth by integrating with Concept2 rowing machines equipped with PM5 monitors. The primary function of the RowingSTEM app is to collect data from these rowing machines, which then facilitates the teaching of various STEM concepts.
The app includes a comprehensive curriculum used in the gROW Tulsa outreach program, making it a valuable resource for educational purposes. It provides a unique and interactive way for students to engage with STEM learning. This engagement is achieved through prewritten experiments, interactive graphing features, and custom investigations that utilize the data collected from the rowing machines.
The RowingSTEM app supports the gROW Tulsa Rowing STEM Curriculum and provides fundamental lessons on how to row, along with documentation of the curriculum. The data gathered from the rowing machines is used to spur various explorations in mathematics, science, and other related fields during school sessions. This approach effectively combines physical activity with academic learning, offering a holistic educational experience for students.
In summary, the RowingSTEM app represents a significant advancement in the intersection of physical education and STEM learning. It leverages technology to gather and analyze data from rowing activities, subsequently applying this data to teach and reinforce key STEM concepts. This blend of physical and academic learning fosters a more engaging and practical understanding of STEM subjects among young learners.
In addition to the educational benefits, the RowingSTEM program also serves as a gateway for youth to become involved in rowing. The program encourages students to work towards mastering both STEM fields and the sport of rowing. An important aspect of this initiative is the gROW Tulsa program, established to extend rowing opportunities to under-resourced youth. This expansion of access is a significant step towards inclusivity and equal opportunity in education and sports.
Furthermore, TYRA has partnered with the Alternative School in Union Public Schools to further this initiative. Supported by the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance Flight Night grant, the partnership includes introducing a gROW Tulsa RowingSTEM program equipped with rowing machines and other necessary equipment on campus. This collaboration marks a significant effort to integrate STEM education with physical fitness and sportsmanship, providing a holistic approach to student development.
“We are grateful to the organizing committee of the Native American STEM Competition for the opportunity to share our program with educators from around the region,” said TYRA Outreach and Advancement Director Neil Bergenroth. “Additionally, we appreciate all of the support we have received from our partners to make RowingSTEM a reality,”
By intertwining the teacher professional development component with the competition, the University of Tulsa’s Native American STEM event not only fosters the growth of indigenous students but also promotes the growth of an empowered and knowledgeable cadre of educators who play a vital role in nurturing the potential of the next generation of Native American STEM leaders. This holistic approach underscores the event’s commitment to creating a lasting impact on Native American communities by strengthening both students and their mentors.