Teachers Became Students During STEM Training Institute

by Alana J. Mauger

Sixteen middle and high school science teachers headed back to school during the week of June 25 for Montgomery County Community College’s STEM Teacher Training Institute at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program is designed to help science teachers from Montgomery County and surrounding area middle and high schools integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities into their curriculum to enhance student learning.

Under the direction of Engineering Associate Professor William Brownlowe, teachers engaged in hands-on lessons in the areas of simple machines, robotics, alternative energy, critical thinking and design of experiment.

A program favorite was robotics, during which teachers were paired with middle and high school competitive robotics students to build and learn how to operate their own robots. After lunch, the teachers, coached by the students, competed against each other in robotics obstacle course modeled after those used in FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.

“The hope is that the teachers will take their robots home and start their own robotics teams at their schools,” said Brownlowe, adding that each teacher left the institute with a competition-ready robot to help get them started.

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photos by Alana J. Mauger

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