June 02, 2015

TWF teaches educators hands-on STEM

STEM is all the rage in education, but what is it? The preceding definition gives some context, but teachers need more than context if they are to teach STEM in their classrooms. They need experience.

The Tiger Woods Learning Center recently joined forces with Pitsco Education and Discovery Cube to give approximately 150 teachers an extended hands-on experience during two days of STEM professional development (PD).

On the first day, PD instructors focused on math and engineering aspects of STEM for teachers in grades 6-10 from throughout the Los Angeles area. The second day centered on STEM in general for teachers in grades 4-6.

In kicking off the event, Tiger Woods Foundation Vice President of Programs and Education Dr. Kathy Bihr explained the TWLC’s involvement as an extension of the 100Kin10 national initiative to help prepare, deploy and support 100,000 excellent STEM teachers within a 10-year period.

Teachers must be comfortable with STEM before they can deliver high-quality experiences to their students. Teachers in attendance at the TWLC certainly increased their level of comfort with STEM. One of the participating schools, Vista View Middle School in Oceanview, sent a contingent of seven teachers on the first day because it is switching to a STEM academy approach.

“The best part is they’re getting the hands-on, practical experience of doing the activity and working through all the logistics and the questions of how it would work,” Vista View principal Joseph Santos, who stopped by to observe during some of the sessions, said. “It’s not just a bunch of theory and ideas. They’re actually doing the activity, which is going to be valuable for them to take into the classroom because they will know what to expect.”

From the teachers:

“The presenters were excellent, connecting all activities with STEM.”

“I love how every workshop had a real-world application and hands-on element so I felt like the student.”

“The definition of STEM makes me think and analyze the purpose of each activity that I currently do.”

“Everyday STEM gave some great ideas of how to incorporate STEM activities without buying expensive materials.”

“I found that it is easier to incorporate STEM than I thought. I actually do STEM things and didn’t even know it.”