The math and science center offers a wide range of free educational resources

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Shawn Bell, director of the Center for Math and Science Education, owns Ozobots and Bee-Bots. They are part of a wide range of educational materials available free of charge to teachers, parents and community members.

The U of A Center for Mathematics and Science Education offers free borrowing of educational materials to homeschool parents, private and public school teachers, or community groups.

“Anyone can view our STEM and other educational resources, including students, faculty, staff and community members,” said Shawn Bell, director of the center.

Jenny Gammill, a STEM specialist at the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative, said she regularly checks resources from the center’s extensive inventory. “The cooperative is very grateful for the partnership we have with CMASE,” she said. “I usually check their AIMS, NASA, and Engineering is Elementary (EIE) resources because we don’t have access to them.”

Gammill said she also borrows Picture Perfect kits, tools for viewing walks — like bug boxes, nets and binoculars — rock and mineral collections, and weather instruments.

“There are 16 member districts in the co-op. Having access to more items allows me to support multiple districts at once,” she said. “For example, we have Ozobots, but only two sets. I can check CMASE robots, and more districts can use them at once.”

Laurie Voss, a teacher at Farmington Junior High, also takes advantage of the center’s wide range of resources. “It’s amazing to have such an Aladdin treasure cave for teachers with little or no budget for their classrooms,” she said.

She noted that the center director has taught science for years and knows which lab kits and resources work best for teaching state standards at different ages. “Last year I taught three different levels and three different science classes,” she said. “I love doing lots of labs and hands-on activities to teach science concepts, but I had no idea how to plan and run so many labs throughout the year. CMASE has so many fabulous activities that teach multiple standards with labs, which come with lesson plans that often incorporate math and literacy skills.”

Voss said the center not only stores multiple rooms of materials, but also provides storage space, so teachers only have them when the materials are in use.

In addition to lending resources, the center helps organize local school events focused on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. It serves several counties in northwest Arkansas and is a resource center for NASA educators. Training is required before checking robotic equipment and other technologies. The center also offers professional development for pre- and in-service teachers and annually hosts the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science Engineering Fair.

To book resources or visit CMASE, call 479-575-3875 or email Stuart Reaves at [email protected]