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Atkins donates $2,000 to Lake City Middle School sixth graders to bring STEM to life in science clas

Lake City Middle School (LCMS) received a $2,000 check from Isotek Systems, LLC, in Oak Ridge to purchase an interactive projection system for their sixth grade science students. The donation was made as part of Isotek’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Committee’s outreach efforts.

STEM is a nationwide program which helps foster education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science, technology, engineering, and math development.

As a member of Isotek’s STEM Committee, Jeff Clark, nuclear criticality engineer, talked with Anderson County School Superintendent Larry Foster about which schools in his county were in need of funding for their STEM programs. Clark was contacted by Susan Silvey who is one of the science teachers at LCMS.

Susan Silvey said: “Every student at LCMS goes through my sixth-grade science class and we have fallen behind in technology.” She said the same level of instruction that seventh-and eighth-grade students receive was needed for her class, but the Smart Board they were using did not allow for this. Susan and the Science Department wanted to purchase the Brightlink® interactive projection system and explained that this would allow for group interactivity and help students stay focused and become more involved.

“An interactive lesson on convection, adaptive engineering, or a spring tide would bring the content to life,” continued Susan. “The projector would make these concepts less difficult for the students to grasp.”

With the touch-enabled system, an image can be projected onto any surface, such as a wall or a table. The students can manipulate these images using interactive pens; some models allow students to use just their fingers. They can rotate, resize and erase any part of the images, offering them more involvement in whatever topic they are studying. Scrolling and zooming are also possible. Sources for these images can come from any electronic device or no source at all.

Isotek is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atkins. Isotek’s mission is the disposition of uranium-233 left over from a pilot plant project at the Department of Energy for the development of radiochemical processing technology. The complex which houses this waste is located within the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Since 2008, Isotek has maintained the complex safely and cost-effectively in order to disposition the inventory stored there with no safety violations.

Isotek’s STEM Committee has donated 10 grants totalling $9,250 to programs in the local four-county area (Anderson, Roane, Loudon, and Knox) since 2014. Other members of the committee are Dave Weigle (principal engineer/electrical authority having jurisdiction), Randy Kirchner (nuclear criticality safety engineer) and Richard Whittaker (principal engineer).