June 10, 2014

It's back to school for middle and high school teachers

By Tom Hutton | CU Colorado Springs

More than 100 middle and high school teachers from across the country are on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus through June 13 to learn new ways to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes in biomedical engineering.

The teachers will dissect sheep brains, mold clay into the shape of human organs, and learn the intricacies of DNA in an effort to inspire their middle and high school students and to consider college majors and, eventually, careers in STEM fields. The efforts are part of Project Lead The Way’s Summer Core Training program.

The intensive two-week bio medical engineering-focused program is designed to give teachers new hands-on activities and applications to make STEM programs more appealing to students. The teachers can’t just learn about the activities. They have to do them, including turning modeling clay into internal human organs or completing a dissection.

Providing students hands-on activities is a known way to increase interest in STEM fields. The core training program gives teachers the tools they need to be successful in their classrooms this fall and for years to come, according to Aubrey Johns, university affiliate manager, Project Lead the Way.

Increasing the number of students studying STEM is a national goal with many employers reporting job applicants are often rejected because of basic science and math skill deficiencies.

Project Lead The Way is a 501c3 organization that provides rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in schools. The organization hopes to prepare students for a place in a global economy and to create a network of educators, students, universities and professionals.

UCCS is the organization’s Colorado affiliate. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.