STEM workshop

LC is hosting a two-day workshop June 14-15 for about 100 area fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and administrators thanks to a Virginia Department of Education Math/Science Partnership Grant.

LC’s Graduate Studies and Donovan Media Development Center have teamed up with Sweet Briar College for the collaborative grade school curriculum development project.

Sweet Briar received a Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant from the Virginia Department of Education for $199,502. Other partners in the project are public schools in Lynchburg and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell counties, and Holy Cross and James River Day private schools.

During the two-day workshop, educators will focus on such questions as:

  • How do I teach the new VA Science Standards of Learning in a fun, active way
  • How can I integrate all components of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) into a two-day lesson?
  • What is an inquiry-based lesson? What is a problem-based lesson?
  • How do I encourage my students to use higher-order thinking skills?
  • How do I know my students have achieved the learning goals I set for them?

Lessons are based on friction, induction, habitats, properties of matter, tsunamis, and dance patterns.

From August 2011 to June 2012 teachers have developed integrated STEM lessons – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These will result in a set of instructional videos to be disseminated and incorporated into the curriculum by the participating school systems in the next academic year.

Several circumstances led to the collaboration with Lynchburg College, said Jill Granger, project director and professor of chemistry at Sweet Briar. The DOE’s video requirement was a hurdle, because Sweet Briar doesn’t have the infrastructure that Lynchburg College has at its media center. The schools also realized they were going after the same funding.

“Collaboration allowed us to develop a more comprehensive grant proposal that capitalized on each college’s expertise,” said Paula Lichiello, assistant dean of graduate studies and project coordinator.

STEM lessons that will track with Virginia’s Standards of Learning for each grade. The introduction of engineering components is also new, and it makes problem-based learning more important to the process.

At Lynchburg College, Bill Noel, associate professor of communications and director of the Donovan Center, will lead the video production, and dean of graduate studies Ed Polloway serves on the Partnership Leadership Team.