Edit ModuleShow Tags

EIS Promotes Science for All

In Southeast San Diego, science and innovation were an important part of the curriculum long before STEM


In 1964, teacher Tom Watts started a science club in his Kennedy Elementary School classroom to ensure equity in the pursuit of innovation. That science club quickly grew and within five years, Watts expanded the program to an abandoned house, creating the Elementary Institute of Science, which has since been a fount of science, technology, engineering, and math education in Southeast San Diego.

While the world has evolved in the last 54 years, the mission and methods for teaching STEM have remained constant at EIS. “What’s interesting is what hasn’t changed,” says Jim Stone, the institute’s executive director. “In a sense, Tom was ahead of his time.” Watts employed a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to STEM. “It was about mixing up the topics and using inquiry-based techniques, because science is a process of discovery.”

Currently, a big push in education is the Next Generation Science Standards, an effort to create common benchmarks and principles for STEM curricula in states across the country. A key tenet of those standards is teaching the subject matter using the practices of scientists and engineers, so that “science begins to make sense and allows students to apply the material.”

“EIS has always realized that science is best learned by doing,” Stone says. “We look at science as something to be done.” He explains that EIS takes that hands-on approach seriously and is committed to ensuring each student receives 25 hours of “inquiry-based” instruction.

Elementary Institute of Science

Over the years, both the quantity and quality of EIS’s STEM offerings drew students from around the city to its lavender building at the corner of Market Street and Euclid Avenue. Recently, it has redoubled its efforts to provide free or low-cost STEM education to students in Southeast San Diego, training the next generation of scientists in this diverse and historically underserved community as part of a larger push to ensure the local innovation economy becomes more inclusive.

As Stone so proudly puts it, “In many ways, the world of STEM education has finally caught up with Tom Watts.” 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Shop like a Tastemaker with the Founder of Cesarina Ristorante

Niccolò Angius sells us on simplicity and shares 14 of his favorite things

An East County Farm Animal Rescue Offers Sweet Sanctuary

Farm Animal Refuge is giving abused, neglected farm animals a second chance

The San Diego Center for Children Raises $400,000

Plus the San Diego Foundation celebrates local philanthropists and receives a grant through a nationwide initiative
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Charitable Events

May 2019


  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
28 29 30 01 02 03 04
05 06 07 08 09 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 01
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    Nearly 7,500 of our hungriest readers voted in our annual poll—and the results are served
  3. First Look: Il Dandy
    Michelin-starred Italian chefs open a stunner in Bankers Hill
  4. Restaurants Are Dying; Here’s the Solution
    It’s simple math, but the state of California refuses to allow it
  5. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
  6. Best of North County 2019
    Our annual roundup of what's up-and-coming and full-on buzzy above the 56
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags