Teachers Explore STEM Concepts Through Hands-On-Minds-ON Inquiry-Based Investigations

By on January 23, 2012 in Hands-On Science Explorations by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, Teacher Training Workshops

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.

Teachers build model bridges during STEM teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski

Teachers build model bridges during STEM teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski

Teachers design, construct and test bridges during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers use blocks to build structures during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers use blocks to build structures during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers use blocks to build structures during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers conduct investigations with super absorbing polymers during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers 3-D structures with simple materials during stem teacher training workshop conducted by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski.

Teachers recorded observations and notes in their professional learning journals during stem teacher training workshop.