November 14, 2016

STEMulated minds at work

In order to meet the needs of the increasing number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs within the next decade, we need students to be exposed to opportunities that exist and provide them with the training, knowledge and skills they need to be successful in these careers. To meet this demand, teachers need to be provided with effective professional development and resources to deliver high quality STEM experiences to their students. With support from the Tiger Woods Foundation’s presenting sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, for two days the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, California, was transformed into a STEM learning hub where educators had the opportunity to participate in collaborative professional development training in the STEM fields.

Laughter, learning and excitement filled the workshops as educators took the role of students, actively engaged and immersed in hands-on activities. There’s nothing more empowering than being surrounded by a community of educators who have the same goal: Create an innovative learning environment for students to find their passions. Workshops focused directly on STEM connections that teachers will take back to their own classrooms and lead their students through. With a blend of pedagogy and hands-on applications, STEM Seminar participants were able to build their confidence in delivering powerful STEM activities to their students. They were engaged in a plethora of project-based activities that included packaging design, learning how to code, developing their own video game and collaboratively designing a roller coaster.

The teachers were also challenged to participate in a little friendly competition by applying their newly found engineering skills during the K’nnecting with K’NEX workshop to design a bridge using K’NEX pieces to hold the most amount of weight. One thing’s for sure, these two days were a great reminder that learning can be fun, hands-on, engaging, and most of all, applicable to real-world contexts. Teachers shared that they gained a stronger sense of empathy for their students’ learning needs, and now have a better understanding of the diversified learning that needs to take place in the classroom. At the conclusion of each day, teachers left with the confidence of knowing that they now have a diversified skill set and knowledge base about STEM.  

Thanks to the support of Kaiser Permanente, this is just the beginning of impacting the health and minds of thousands of youth in our community. Teachers were taught, challenged and inspired to take action and continue to “STEMulate” the minds of the young, inquisitive thinkers and future leaders in our school communities.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.