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AEDC Promotes STEM at TCES

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Students, teachers, and parents at Tracy City Elementary School recently saw first-hand how much fun science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be when the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Discovery Dome came to their school.

The Discovery Dome provides a full planetarium experience and is 16 feet. by 10 feet.; it can hold up to 35 students and one adult for each presentation. The dome includes surround sound and videos tailored to the grade level of the students.

AEDC STEMJere Matty, coordinator for AEDC STEM, partnered with Discover Together and the Tracy City Elementary School to plan a two-day visit to TCES. On the first day, Matty stayed after school and held two additional shows so parents could watch with their children.

Both students and teachers left the event saying they were impressed.

“One of the fifth grade boys gave Mr. Matty a hug and thanked him for coming,” said Susan Johnson, Community Ambassador, and the parents were asking why their children were so excited.”

The comment came after the students launched rockets on day two of the visit.

This was Matty’s first visit to TCES where 450 people participated. The group included students, teachers, staff and parents who went through the AEDC Discovery Dome.

On the second day, another 15 students built and launched rockets. As a reward for their work with the rockets, Matty gave the students some materials to make an airplane and then watched as they flew them.

By the end of the second day, students at TCES were flying their planes and eager to learn more about STEM.

“The students told me they didn’t want to leave, and they kept asking if Mr. Matty can come back,” said Johnson. “Experiences like this can spark an interest in our children to study STEM, and it’s never too early to plant that seed!”

Matty agreed and noted, “We just love working with these smart young folks and showing them a vision of the bright future they can be part of.”

Johnson planned the event and worked with TCES Principal Glenda Dykes and Matty at AEDC to make the visit to the school possible, and the entire school participated.

“Discover Together is a partnership of Scholastic Sewanee – a collaboration between the University of the South, the Yale Child Study Center and the community in Grundy County,” said Emily Partin, the director of Grundy County Schools Family Resource Center and Discover Together Grundy. Scholastic Sewanee was designed to build family resiliency through programs focused around place, community and literacy and every community is rich with unique people, places, stories and dreams… to be discovered together.”

Matty travels with the Discovery Dome throughout the state and provides a variety of items for check out through the AEDC STEM Center. For more information or learn about all of the opportunities available, go to