Teachers and students at Prescott South Middle School are eager to experience the cutting edge of education and instructional research in a creative laboratory environment.
Since the Millard Oakley STEM Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics began an educational research partnership with the school in the fall of 2010, more than 20 educators and 450 students have come to the center for several hands-on experiences.
The pilot program’s goals include training educators in the latest strategies for delivering STEM-related content, providing access to tools and resources for cross-curricular instruction and accessible activities to engage the students.
“Math professor Holly Anthony suggested the concept of a STEM Center User Group to directly engage teachers as the conduits of research and teaching,” STEM Center Director Sally Pardue said. “The learning activities are unique and reflect cross curricular content and the project activities are aligned with state learning standards.”
“It is an honor for Prescott South Middle School to be the pioneer in the use of the STEM Center and its learning opportunities,” said Cindy Taylor, principal of Prescott Middle. “The cutting-edge technology and experience of the Oakley STEM Center mesh with the thinking strategies and STEM focus at Prescott South.”
The pilot program with Prescott is ongoing, and other schools are invited to participate in the STEM Center User Group Training experiences, currently designed for third to 12 grade teachers.
“Studies have readily identified the need for more attention to training and resources in STEM subjects,” Pardue said. “Through the expansion of the pilot program, we are in the position to address that need and help teachers teach with our STEM Center User Group Training and EXPEDITION Field Trip experiences for students.”
The User Group training is presented by regional teacher liaisons and facilitated by Pardue. The teachers leading the activities are compensated through a TTU grant from the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium.
The program equips teachers to lead activities at the center and in their classrooms using a lending library of materials and resources available to educators across the state.
Students whose teachers have completed the training get to attend workshops in the center’s state-of-the-art laboratories for the EXPEDITION Field Trip experience. There, teachers lead hands-on activities with the support of university faculty, graduate students and center staff.
For more information about these programs and other opportunities visit www.tntech.edu/stem or contact Christina Hatley at 931/372-6573.