NEOSHO, Mo. — Today marks National STEM Day.

And while it’s a priority in many Four State classrooms, it’s an even bigger deal for a Neosho teacher.

Sonya Kew teaches fourth grade at Rise Elementary. STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, is a focus at the school.

Kew has taken it a step farther. She’s nationally certified as a STEM educator and has a master’s in STEM education.

She says using those principles, along with project-based learning, or PBL, makes lessons come alive.

“Kids want to know why they’re learning. And when you can do these PBL projects and STEM projects and put them together, marry them into a large overarching project throughout the day, they understand why they’re learning to read, because they want to read to find out the information,” said Sonya Kew, Neosho teacher.

Kew says she loves the STEM focus at Rise Elementary and adds she started using it in her classroom more than a decade ago.