"Empowering West Virginia educators and their students: Statler College Engineering Boot Camp bridges STEM gap for local teachers"
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Article by Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
K-5 teachers learn innovative ways to introduce STEM activities into their curriculum.
The Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University hosted 13 teachers from Boone, Berkeley and Monongalia counties in the inaugural Engineering Boot Camp for K-5 teachers on August 12, 2023.
BENJAMIN M. STATLER COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND MINERAL RESOURCES
Teachers worked alongside faculty and staff in the Statler College to integrate science, technology, engineering, and math concepts into hands-on activities promoting chemical, robotics, mining and energy engineering applications.
Seasoned faculty and staff in the college, introduced physics and engineering concepts to challenge the pushes and pulls on the motion of an object; simulated chemical separations and chemical reactions for improving water quality to eliminate waste; recovered components from coal to be used in engineering technologies; learned about coding, unmanned aviation and robotics, and alternative energies sources design and fabrication.
The camp was delivered as an experiential, practical training platform with input from Donna Hoylman Peduto, the Executive Director of West Virginia Public Education Collaborative housed in the Provost's Office, at West Virginia University.
The program was sponsored by Trilogy Innovations Inc., a WV-based software and systems engineering firm.
“I am excited to support this shared vision of diversifying the K-5 STEM teaching workforce in collaboration with Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources,” said Brandon Downey, CEO of Trilogy Innovations Inc.
“This partnership is envisioned to help build strong relationships with teachers in our rural communities and support young minds exposure to critical thinking and analytical STEM concepts essential to the technological developments of the 21st century,” said Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College.
The participants provided positive feedback, on the variety of activities, peer experiential learning under faculty and staff in Statler College direct engagement and availability of resources.
“The K-5 teachers experienced a super high-quality delivery of STEM concepts created to meet their individual learning needs. Such ongoing professional learning opportunities are critical for teachers’ growth and the development of classroom teaching strategies that support students to apply STEM concepts," said Allison Dagen, professor of literacy education in the College of Education and Human Services, an active camp participant and member of the WVPEC's Benedum-funded Sparking Early Literacy Growth team.
The program ended with a peer reflection session on implementing STEM principles in early education. Participants discussed challenges, strategies and opportunities on how to ensure both active engagement of their students as well as how the relevant disciplinary content that motivates them can be delivered effectively.
“I believe that cultivating early curiosity for engineering needs to begin in our elementary schools," said Melissa Workman, camp co-organizer and Early Childhood Education Specialist for Monongalia County Schools. “This STEM Boot Camp empowered our educators, fostering their confidence to teach engineering concepts in these crucial formative years of our kids.”
Active planning is underway for the camp to be extended to support K-12 teachers in the State of West Virginia. For partnerships with Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources please contact Cerasela Dinu, associate dean for student, faculty and staff engagement and camp organizer, at Cerasela-Zoica.Dinu@mail.wvu.edu.
Link to full article published by the West Virginia University Foundation: