STEMi autonomous cars

Students from four HVS elementary schools recently had hands-on experiences with autonomous vehicles, collaborative robots, extended reality and smart manufacturing.

Oakland Schools’ STEMi Mobile Innovation Station arrived Nov. 1 at Lakewood Elementary, where it remained parked all week to accommodate fifth grade students from Lakewood, Country Oaks, Kurtz and Oxbow. 

The lab, provided by Oakland Schools, features 1,000 square feet of interactive high-tech industry equipment aimed at providing students with high-tech career awareness and self-efficacy. 

Oakland Schools also provides technology experts who arrive with the mobile lab to work with students at the various stations. 

“They do a nice job of tying the technology to jobs that our students might want to consider for the future,” said Derek Baad, HVS Instructional Technology Coordinator. “The kids are completely engaged the whole time.

“They love it,” he added. “At one point, we heard a student say, ‘This is the best field trip ever!’  

Students from Heritage participated in a pilot roll-out of the program last spring, and will have a chance to visit again next year, along with students from Highland, Johnson and Spring Mills.  

The STEMi program launched in the spring of 2021 and will be provided to all districts in Oakland County free of cost for at least five years. Throughout the course of the program, Oakland Schools said, learners will be inspired to pursue STEM careers, teachers will be prepared to develop future workforce and the community will be united in addressing the skills gap.