STEM Exploration Station opens in Brillion Elementary School

The STEM Exploration Station inside Brillion Elementary School had an open house and dedication on May 1, 2017. (Photo Credit: WLUK)

BRILLION (WLUK) -- Some students claim it's better than recess, but Brillion Elementary School's new STEM Exploration Station is all about learning.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“They don't know they are learning,” said Sarah Russart, the STEM room coordinator. “It's a lot of hands-on experience, but they're so much more engaged than in the classroom just reading a book and answering the questions that way.”

The $1.5 million facility used to be an old cafeteria and gymnasium used for indoor recess. Now it's two levels of teaching space using the STEM design process of working together to solve a problem.

“That can be anywhere from 4-year-olds learning how to put a dinosaur together to a 5th grader learning about electrical circuits,” said Russart.

While the STEM room combines fun and learning for the students, area businesses hope it will be the foundation for future workforces.

The Ariens Foundation and Endries Family Foundation each donated more than $200,000 to the facility.

“The more we can educate smart, problem-solving young adults and bring them into our business, the better off we're going to be,” said Dan Ariens, the President and CEO of Ariens Company.

This is the second STEM center in the Brillion School District. In 2007, the high school introduced its Fab Lab. Area companies, like Ariens, are already seeing the benefits of it.

“We have many graduates of that program now all over our business, from the manufacturing shop floor all the way into design engineering,” said Ariens.

Brillion Superintendent Dominick Madison says the STEM station was about 80 percent funded through private fundraising. The rest was approved through a 2014 referendum.

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