MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is helping a local elementary school’s students build STEM skills.

Third graders at Asbury Elementary School are learning about STEM thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Teachers applied for the robotics grant to get Vex Go Educational Robotics kits for third grade through fifth grade. One teacher says STEM education, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, teaches kids about life.

“It helps the students to build problem-solving critical thinking skills perseverance to stick with a project even if it’s not going well teamwork challenges,” STEM teacher and Vex Robotics Coach Mary Waterhouse said, “and it allows them to build that self-confidence as they’re building these projects they build a lot of self-confidence and I believe these students are going need these skills to compete in the challenging job market.”

According to the Pew Research Center, the representation of women in STEM occupations varies. They say women make up a large majority of all workers in health-related jobs but remain underrepresented in fields like physical science computing and engineering. Now future leaders of the workforce aim to change that.

Third Grader Adelita Beauloye said she thinks girls are good and doing STEM projects, but boys also have an interest in the field as well.

“I have a little brother, and he’s seven, and me and him do good working together doing stuff like making slime, and building cars and building dollhouses and everything like that because he helps me and it’s good,” Beauloye said

The Marshall County School Assistant Superintendent Allan Garner says the push for STEM is countywide.

“You know Dr. Wiggly and the board with the help of ESSER funds,” he said. “ESSER funds is really what has allowed us to do this and so she just made a priority that we are gonna put stem teachers stem coaches at our elementary schools and then also at our middle schools so that they have that foundation,”

The school has four robotics teams, two for elementary and two for middle school.