Just back from Texas where I conducted STEM training for elementary teachers at Town Center Elementary. We began the workshop with discussing methods to develop and strengthen critical thinking skills in students. During the full-day science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teacher training workshop teachers were introduced to a wide-array of STEM content and concepts via hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations. Teachers explored: Super absorbing polymers, biomimicry, structure and function, engineering design process, and using toys to explore force, motion, energy concepts. Additionally, teachers were introduced to a wide-array of children’s literature that make connections to STEM concepts. Teachers recorded their notes, drawings, and designs in their professional learning journals. I was really impressed with Town Center Elementary administrators and teachers. It was apparent from the moment I entered the school that the administrators and teachers strive to provide the very best educational experience for every Town Center Elementary student. The school is actively engaged in integrating STEM throughout all grade levels and subject areas including physical education and the arts. Lastly, I was really impressed with the use of professional learning journals by the teachers. Each teacher has a professional learning journal (composition notebook) that they bring to each professional staff development training they attend. Teachers record their notes, etc.. in the journals. This is kept throughout the school year for teachers to use a reference, review etc…During all my teacher training workshops I encourage teachers to record their notes in journals versus bringing loose sheets of paper to record their notes etc… only to be lost or misplaced over time. Kudos to Town Center Elementary and Coppell Independent School District Science Resource specialist for promoting the use of professional learning journals by their teachers.
Archive for January, 2012
Thirty-five early childhood teachers explored a wide-array of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts during a recent hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based teacher training workshop I conducted in LaVergne, Tennessee. It’s always rewarding to see the enthusiasm of early childhood teachers in their willingness to be introduced to new and exciting investigations to bring into the early childhood classroom. During the six-hour workshop teachers were actively engaged in exploring numerous STEM concepts via hands-on-minds-on explorations. We started off the workshop by observing and analyzing shapes and patterns found in nature and man-made objects. Then it was onto building 2 and 3-D structures. Analyzed toys to explore force, motion and energy concepts. Made connections to birds, airplanes, helicopters, parachutes, and seed dispersal. Built ramps out of store-bought race car tracks, paper tubes, insulating foam, and whatever else the teachers could get their hands on. Ended the session with building boats out of aluminum foil, the goal being to have the aluminum boat carry the maximum cargo load (pennies) without sinking. Additionally, teachers were introduced to numerous early childhood literature STEM connections such as “Iggy Peck The Architect” and more. Check out STEM literature references under the book page on this website. What a great group of early childhood teachers at LaVergne Primary School, Tennessee. We need to have a strong science and STEM presence at the early childhood level if we want our children to continue their excitement for the natural world around them. Check out some of the photos taken during the STEM workshop for early childhood teachers.