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St. Kate’s faculty play to packed house at NSTA

Teachers worked in teams to solve the engineering question posed by Maxfield and Ng during their NSTA presentation on engineering in elementary schools.
Teachers worked in teams to solve the engineering question posed by Maxfield and Ng during their NSTA presentation on engineering in elementary schools.
Julie Michener

Faculty at the National Science Teachers Association conference share advice on developing competent, confident and comfortable STEM teachers.

St. Kate’s STEM faculty members Yvonne Ng and Lori Maxfield brought their team-teaching expertise to a filled-to-bursting room in the Hilton at the National Science Teachers Association conference Friday morning.

They utilized a case study video created as part of a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant as a jumping off point for five lessons in engineering—a framework of concepts that outlines what engineering is, and the questions teachers can ask as they design lessons to know they are creating engineering lessons.

“Yvonne’s story,” is a short video Ng made to share how her lower limb birth defect inspired her to become an engineer. It also illustrates how engineering impacts every day life.

“Engineering allowed me to not accept the world as it was given to me,” said Ng.

Ng and Maxfield immediately engaged their audience with an engineering activity. Breaking the group into teams, they challenged them to create a “load-bearing leg shaft” out of 3 x 5 index cards and tape.

In the ten-minute exercise, groups came up with their designs, and with a flurry of scotch tape, executed the creations and shared them.

Ng and Maxfield then led a discussion of how teachers can work with students to help them develop their creative problem-solving processes and collaborative skills in solving engineering design challenges. Faculty members have presented these solutions to their students in the STEM course “Engineering in your world,” offered at St. Catherine University.

“Engineering is everywhere,” said Ng, adding that the essence of engineering is meeting a need.

Maxfield and Ng advised their audience to understand what their students care about and build their own engineering lessons from there.

 

March 11, 2011 by Julie Michener

See also: Education, Faculty, STEM