Missed a newsletter?  Visit our website to read past issues -- S2TEM Centers SC Newsletter Archive 

GRANDmother.  GRAND Canyon.  GRAND Ole Opry.  Add GRAND in front of a word or two and suddenly everything that follows seems more magnificent.  GRAND challenges?  Suddenly, everything that follows seems more daunting.  So what is a GRAND Challenge anyway? And, why take this approach? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explains Grand Challenges this way, “These initiatives use challenges to focus attention and effort on specific problems, and they can be traced back to the mathematician David Hilbert, who over a century ago defined a set of unsolved problems to spark progress in the field of mathematics.”

South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science (SCCMS) foray into Grand Challenges in STEM Education began this past July when we were awarded one of only three “Challenge Grants” issued by STEMx/Battelle.  Using these funds, and with additional support from Boeing SC, Comporium and Fluor, SCCMS hosted the “Grand Challenges in SC STEM Summit” this past October in Columbia, SC.

Summit dialog was centered on research conducted by 100Kin10, a national network committed to adding 100,000 excellent STEM teachers to U.S. classrooms by 2021.  Their research seeks to identify root causes and possible actions to address the critical shortage of STEM teachers. Thought leaders from across South Carolina added to this knowledge base through their responses to interview questions designed collaboratively by Grace Doramus, director of strategic initiatives at 100Kin10 and SCCMS staff.

Ultimately, there were two goals in mind for the Summit;

  1. Plant seeds for future STEM education partnerships and collaborations.
  2. Identify five, system-wide, grand challenges within our state that we might successfully master within five years’ time if we act together to maximize our individual and organizational strengths and resources.

Attendees came from across the state and from all walks of life including business/industry, the arts, out-of-school learning places, government, classrooms and more.

Unlike previous SC STEM summits, the focus of thought and action came from the participants themselves rather than being generated by external speakers, panelists or other presenters. Together, we explored the 100Kin10 Challenge Tree System Map to identify challenges most relevant to our state.

Particularly effective was the use of South Carolina interview data to identify a set of Super Themes as organizers for the themes, challenges, and catalysts already identified in the challenge map.   Sessions were facilitated by S²TEM Centers SC staff, who worked to ensure that dialogue and discussion stayed on point and yielded the results we were after.

In the end, the day’s conversations validated our contention that STEM leaders would rally around a few catalytic challenges to move STEM teaching and learning forward. However, the task of reviewing more than 100 challenges and whittling them to five was too daunting to be completed in a single day. To launch into next steps, Summit participants made personal commitments to broaden their networks in the SC STEM community and to share what they learned with their colleagues.

For South Carolina STEM education, this Summit was only the beginning.  Findings will be presented to multiple audiences in the coming months and refined into actionable challenges.

In what ways have you been thinking about challenges facing STEM education in your community?  Would you like to share your thoughts and ideas especially about STEM education in the elementary grades and/or the value and perception of STEM teaching and learning? If so, we invite you to submit your name, job title and an e-mail address to us.

Look for additional Grand Challenges in SC STEM information to be shared in 2018 via our newsletter and on our website.

“Growing in SC: The Future of STEAM is Here” - Grant Opportunities

PreK-12  -  In or Out of School Time -  New STEAM Initiatives
The grants are designed to support the development and implementation of new projects and/or units that enhance preK-12 STEAM education as related to the Profile of the SC Graduate.

Grantees will receive up to $2,500.  In addition to the monetary award, grantees will receive 8 hours onsite STEAM-focused professional development valued at $1,500.

All applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on January 12, 2018.

Visit our S²TEM Centers SC team!  They will be at the following conference offering sessions.

What’s in Your Disciplinary Literacy Strategy Toolbox?

Participant’s toolbox will be filled with disciplinary literacy strategies that can easily be implemented in classrooms and assist students in developing world-class skills.


STEM’s Not What We Teach; It’s What We Do

How do you STEM? We will examine community partnerships and instructional leadership experiences in STEM to become better prepared for implementing STEM-mindedness communitywide.

Free Downloadable Math & Science Lessons

A collection of professionally developed K-8 lessons, aligned with the latest SC standards.


Explore our collection of STEM events and opportunities around the state. 

Have a STEM event you'd like to adverstise, visit STEM Linx!  Posting is free for registered users.  Add your opportunity to STEM Linx and you just may find it advertised in our next issue of Insights!

Differentiating Adult Learning 3--Day Course

Explore strategies for how adults learn and learn how to transform your schools and districts into sustainable learning environments. Learn More CS Administrator and Counselor Workshop

December 14, 2017
Charleston, SC
During this workshop, school administrators and counselors will learn why computer science is important, what the programs are about, set a goal for expanding CS, and brainstorm ways to encourage students to take CS classes.  Find out More!

Charleston STEM Festival

February 3, 2018
Brittlebank Park, Charleston SC
A community celebration of STEM, featuring ~80 exhibitors who will provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented STEM entertainment. Find out More!

Storm the Citadel

February 10, 2018
The Citadel, Charleston, SC
Teams of students in grades K-12 from all over the state of South Carolina will participate in trebuchet, bridge building, Lego robotics, and water bottle rocket competitions.   Find out More!

South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association Programming Summit

February 21-23, 2018
Myrtle Beach, SC
Join us in sharing educational or recreational programs and learn from others in the field about developing new opportunities.   Find out More!

iMAGINE Upstate STEAM Festival

April 7, 2018
Greenville, SC
A free community event featuring interactive exhibits and live stage shows from more than 70 STEAM organizations.  Find out More!

KidWind Challenge

April 7, 2018
The Citadel, Charleston SC
Students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in two fun renewable energy competitions.  Find out More!

4-H Engineering Challenge

April 14, 2018
Midlands Technical College, West Columbia, SC
An opportunity for students 9-19 to learn, have fun, demonstrate their science, technology, engineering and math skills, and compete for individual and team honors.  Find out More!


The Gene Machine Mobile Science Laboratory

This mobile science lab allows the technology and expertise of the Greenwood Genetic Center to come directly to classrooms across South Carolina at no charge to the school. Find out More!


Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center

Offering laboratory field trips in modern genetics and biotechnology to school groups. Students will use modern technology to generate and analyze results and to learn key concepts.  View a list of labs and for information on bringing CULSOC labs to your school.
Copyright © 2017 South Carolina's Coalition for Mathematics & Science at Clemson University, All rights reserved.

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