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September 19th, 2011
Press Release: Everyday STEM: Already in the Classroom
Professional development series shows K-5 educators how to integrate STEM.
Working the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and math – into elementary school curriculum is easy when educators realize that they are already there.
Through the professional development series Everyday STEM, K-5 teachers discover that STEM concepts lie within storybooks, history lessons, art projects, and more – and they learn how to coax these principles out of their everyday lessons. Everyday STEM author Ginger Whiting believes this skill is germane to needs in education.
“There’s not an understanding of how things work in our world today,” said Whiting. “Understanding the world we live in, the world designed and created by humans, is essential to the decision making the children of today will face about the design of our future world.”
Whiting is an experienced elementary teacher who has long supported the use of hands-on activities. She is one of the founders of the Children’s Engineering Educators, LLC, which provides workshop sessions and graduate classes that show teachers how to incorporate technology and engineering into regular lessons. When the economic climate made in-person opportunities difficult for schools to budget, Whiting reconfigured the material so it can be used without hiring an outside consultant to facilitate the sessions.
With teachers having more on their plates than ever, Whiting was careful to avoid adding extra subjects and to minimize preparatory work. And a current in-service teacher reviews all materials to ensure they are clear and can be implemented.
The techniques used in Everyday STEM have proven effective over the years.
“Children’s Engineering is the most useful class that I have taken since typing in high school,” said Debbie Popp, a second-grade teacher from Chesterfield County, Virginia. “It is something that I can use every day.”
Dr. Len Litowitz, an Industry & Technology faculty member at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, worked with Whiting to bring workshops to the university for several summers.
“Her workshops were always well received,” Litowitz said. “And she was chosen based upon her expertise with elementary engineering and technology education.”
Starting with Unit 1: Highlighting the T&E in STEM, teachers learn strategies to help students understand the difference between science and technology, the effect of technology on their daily lives, and how to integrate technology and engineering in all subject areas. Unit 2: Using the Design Process provides hands-on activities to help educators internalize the design process so they can teach it more effectively. After these foundational units, schools can select from five others:
• Unit 3: Structures
• Unit 4: Tools
• Unit 5: Materials
• Unit 6: Communication
• Unit 7: Systems
With plans, a presentation, ready-to-use hands-on activities, and other resources, each Everyday STEM unit is implemented as a 90-minute program. The series can be used individually or by a group and can be reused by new teachers to maintain consistent instruction.
Everyday STEM Units 1-3 are now available; Units 4-7 will be available in 2012. To learn more about this professional development series, visit shop.pitsco.com/everydaystem or call 800-835-0686.
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Pitsco Education Catalogs are driven by a commitment to hands-on learning through STEM-based activities. From sustainable energy and model bridges to CO2 dragsters and robotics, Pitsco Education offers hundreds of activities to spark student learning.