Teachers: Here’s how to build STEM pipeline

stem-teachersHow can U.S. teachers build the coming generation of U.S. students do to build STEM pipelines?

NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology introduced more than 30 middle and high school teachers of science, math and technology to engineering careers through an ASM Materials Science professional development program.

The program, which inspires and motivates teachers to become passionate about strengthening STEM pipelines with their own students, has introduced thousands of teachers to hands-on learning about the role of materials in our daily lives.

“This camp is awesome. I use software to teach, but this ASM materials camp shows me how to use materials so my students can use all their senses,” said Devi Yolo, technology teacher at St. James Catholic School in Belvidere.

“They will be able to hold, see, smell, feel and hear what materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers and composites can do. And that creates excitement in the sciences.”

When teachers engage students using simple, low-cost experiments integrated into their existing lesson plans, it makes science, technology, engineering and math come alive in the classroom, said Promod Vohra, dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

“Middle school students need to be exposed to the wonderment and ‘cool’ factor of engineering,” Vohra said.

“Every teacher who has attended ASM camp has been impressed by the quality of instruction and the quantity of experiments they are able to use in their classrooms,” added Pati Sievert, director of STEM Outreach at NIU. “It’s a way to teach students how to look at materials they use every day, in a different light.”

The workshop, held from July 22 to 26, was made possible by the financial support of NIU, ASM Chicago Regional Chapter and individual contributors to the ASM Materials Education Foundation.

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