STEM workshop for teachers is funded by ISBE grant

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Illinois State Board of Education grant supports Lewis University STEM workshops for teachers

Published: May 20, 2011.

Lewis University is the recent recipient of a $160,000 grant through the Illinois State Board of Education. The grant is the “Illinois Math and Science Partnership Program Summer Institute Program,” and is part of a national initiative to provide increased education for students in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics. Lewis plans to offer a 2-week workshop from June 20-July 1 for K-8 teachers in Joliet District 86 for 25 participants.

The workshop will be on “Green and Renewable Energy” and will teach the mathematics and science of renewable energy to teachers in grades K through 8. The workshops will employ a combination of lectures, videos, field trips, computer exercises, hands-on experiments, and ongoing self-guided action research projects to help convey essential issues related to energy production and delivery and its corresponding environmental impact. Each topic will be accompanied by an in-depth and practical discussion of how those concepts and skills may be presented in the classroom, both as a way to educate students about energy issues and to help them learn important skills they need to master in their math and science classes. Teachers will apply the knowledge and skills they gain from these workshops in their classrooms during the school year as part of action research projects.

Field trips will include trips to an energy-independent water conservation facility in Romeoville (Metropolitan Industries, Inc.), a wind farm near DeKalb, an urban solar farm in West Pullman, and nuclear and renewable energy exhibits at Argonne National Laboratory. Class discussions and experiments include use of nanoparticles in reducing pollution contaminants; the physical principles behind work, energy, and power; electricity production and the electric power grid, and the importance of protecting our energy infrastructure against cyber attackers.

Participants will put together budget proposals for materials that they will use in their classrooms during the following year, which will be funded through the grant. The goal is for the first-year participants to serve as mentors to others in their schools. Lewis plans to apply for a second and third year of this renewable grant.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,000 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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