Agriculture and Environmental Science Teachers Explore STEM Practices and ContentBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on November 29, 2013 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education
9th-12th grade Agriculture and Environmental Science Teachers were introduced to STEM practices and content during a two-day STEM teacher training I recently conducted. The two-day training started off with introducing teachers to critical thinking, inquiry-based teaching and learning, reflective journaling in the STEM classroom, and the Engineering Design Process. I selected hands-on, inquiry and standards-based investigations that would make direct correlations to 9th-12th grade Agriculture and Environmental Science Benchmarks, as well as connecting to Common Core. Teachers conducted investigations with solar energy, using solar cells and simple electrical devices such as buzzers, flashlight bulbs, etc. Their engineering design challenge was to design, construct, and test a solar cooker using limited materials, and having a maximum mass of 400grams. Solar cooker data was collected and recorded over a two-day period. Modifications were made to the solar cookers throughout the two-days accordingly. Teachers were also introduced to weathering and erosion concepts, using the schoolyard and neighboring areas for STEM walks to focus on agriculture and environmental science concepts. During the STEM walks teachers collected live insects and snails, as well as vegetative samples to study further in the classroom using digital microscopes, etc. Teachers also were introduced to the use of digital tools during STEM walks such as: hydrometers, windmeters, digital thermometers, pH probes, portable digital microscopes, etc.
This was a great two-day STEM teacher training session. To see the Agricultural Science teachers wandering through the nearby sugar cane fields to gather specimens was awesome. I’m certain that the participants of this STEM training will definitely be incorporating STEM practices and content within their lessons, the teachers were able to see the power of STEM education as a means to transform education and their teaching styles. The following photos are from the STEM teacher training.