Food for Thought: Teach the Teachers STEM, Then the Students
Working as a Defense Engineer has its drawbacks, but it also has its advantages. By far the best advantage is the opportunity to participate in Education Outreach programs. My Navy base in Panama City, FL along with Florida State University PC have worked together to put on the FSU STEM Camp every summer for three years now. This is my first year participating and I was blown away.
One major goal of the camp is to teach STEM to the teachers as well as the students. The first week of camp is nothing but teachers working with engineers. Throughout that week I got to teach 35 teachers to solder, identify basic electronic parts and to build circuits on breadboards. None of these Elementary, Middle and High School teachers had every done any of that before. Some of these teachers were driving 1-2 hours every day to attend this camp from rural counties with no STEM programs at all. Suddenly I found myself in a fury of excited teachers begging me to help them setup STEM programs at their schools. Many asked where they could buy soldering stations and other supplies. I think their reaction to the hands on activities in the camp was greater then the students the following week. Don’t believe me? See for yourself…
I can only imagine the greater impact this will have compared to just teaching STEM to 35 students. Now these teachers are excited and ready to bring more STEM into the classroom. If you every find yourself with the opportunity to educate some teachers, I would fully recommend it. Who knows how many students that could affect down the road.
Curious about what the teachers were building and soldering? Here’s a hint.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.