STEM educator Amy Baldwin turned program around at Oakbrook Middle School

    Amy Baldwin at Oakbrook Middle School (WCIV)

    STEM classes at Oakbrook Middle School in Ladson had very little interest just a few years ago.

    However, now that former math teacher Amy Baldwin has taken over, there's a waiting list to get into those science, technology, engineering and math classes.

    "Anytime you can give students—especially middle school boys—things they can build and take apart, launch, fly, break apart, they love it and they are learning about the design process," Baldwin said.

    Students are doing assigned experiments like construct bungees that fling plastic army men across the classroom. While the outcome is fun, sometimes students don't get their desired trajectory or expected results.

    "If you watch them, they weren't discouraged," Baldwin points out. "They kept trying to figure out what they could do differently or what else they can do. Some of them will even go home tonight and I guarantee, watch YouTube videos and Google, brainstorm and come up with a new plan for tomorrow," she said.

    Baldwin is a leader, getting students excited about learning and excited about a future in STEM careers.

    "I just like to build, take things apart, put things back together, so STEM kind of fits into my world pretty well," she said.

    Students share her passion.

    "My room is usually hopping from about 7:30 in the morning, until the end of the day. I have kids who come in during their lunchtime because they have a special project they want to work on and it's kind of neat to see them get really excited about it," she said.

    In her class, you never know what you're going to get.

    "I'm always doing research and looking for a new project or a new thing to try, or the kids will come to me with ideas, so I have a feeling that because I don't stay stagnant, the classes are going to keep growing," she said.

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