Muskegon – The Muskegon Maritime Academy(MMA) is the first K-5 all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math(STEM) school in Muskegon County. In addition to the maritime science and research, the new naval academy plans to offer coding classes starting in third grade and a STEM-based eSports league starting in fifth grade.
School officials say the aim is to foster the student’s creativity and develop creators, builders, and problem-solvers, which officials say will start as early as kindergarten.
The school is finalizing the coding curriculum for 3rd to 5th grade. The eSports program will be in partnership with Maryland-based EliteGamingLive, which developed a platform that fuses technological education with interscholastic, competitive video game competition.
The program is not simply playing games, but they have built-in STEM lesson plans that students must complete to advance. MMA students will also join a league with other 5th grade classes from around the country. MMA students will have a coach, a roster, and a fall, winter, and spring schedule.
“We are going to promote and support our eSports teams and coding projects like other schools promote and support traditional sports”, stated school founder Franklin A.Fudail.
Fudail said that based on his research over the last three years, he found that the most successful STEM programs allow students to learn and have fun. “When I started working on the STEM curriculum with my team the first thing I emphasize was it must be hands-on, allow our students to think and solve problems, allow our students to collaborate, and move around and not be a stiff classroom environment”, said Fudail.
He said in his research he found a variety of STEM-related curricula starting as early as kindergarten. “The kids see it as playing and having fun when actually they are learning and establishing a foundation in STEM. That’s exactly what we want”.
“It’s very important that our kids learn how to code so they have a chance to evolve from just playing games to creating them. I liked EliteGamingLive because the STEM lessons are built into the entire process”, said Fudail.
Some define coding as the process of transforming ideas, solutions, and instructions into the language that computers understand. Fudail said all those skills are essential. “Our school will have a robust reading literacy program, it will be paramount, however, schools must also tackle basic tech literacy in the digital age. Coding is a language, and I believe it is as important for our kids to learn to code as it is for them to learn a foreign language. We will provide a strong foundation for Muskegon Maritime Academy students and redefine what constitutes a proper education, making sure it aligns with the present and future”, asserts Fudail.
To Enroll Visit www.MuskegonMaritimeAcademy.org