Professors teach STEM to Wisconsin educators

June 21, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — Four UW-Platteville teaching professionals will host two workshops for Wisconsin Cooperative Educational Service Agency 5 area educators focusing on connecting science, technology, engineering and mathematics and adding them to their daily curriculum.

“These workshops ensure teachers’ professional development as well as give teachers additional STEM tools, ideas and concepts,” said Lisa Riedle, UW-Platteville associate dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. “They also assist teachers in understanding how STEM disciplines are connected.”

The 2013 STEM Education Connects: Enhancing Teacher Quality and Student Proficiency grant will focus on geometry. The past two years the team created activities that incorporated the standards of number operation, statistics, measurement, and algebra. The major science focus this year will be on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12. Field trips have been used to show how STEM is embedded in agriculture.

Riedle is accompanied by Dr. Leigh Monhardt, associate professor of science education; Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer of mathematics; and Dr. Tim Deis, professor of mathematics.

“The best part about teaching these workshops is working with the teachers,” said Deis. “The reward is knowing that you are instilling these teachers with applicable concepts.”

These workshops are provided through a STEM grant UW-Platteville received three years ago.

Riedle, Monhardt, Grunow and Deis will lead the two workshops that are five days a week and include four activities each day; early morning, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, and mostly cater to science and math educators.

“We also incorporated field trips in with the week activities. The first week we put together a geocaching activity, and the second week we will have a geometric scavenger hunt,” said Deis.

CESA 5 is an area provider of educational services to the local and global community and is a part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

“Some of the teachers that enroll in these workshops are eligible to receive college credit if they implement some of the practices and complete the required tasks for master’s level credit,” said Riedle. “The teachers then report back on how the activities went during the course of the semester.”

Monhardt, Grunow and Deis were all classroom teachers prior to working in the higher education sector. “We have an understanding of where the teachers are coming from,” said Monhardt. “When we are planning activities that help them bring STEM into their classroom and how they connect them to the educational standards, we have in the back of our minds how it is to facilitate these concepts with their students. This is a great example of theory in practice. We are helping teachers understand why they are doing what they are doing.”

Riedle, Monhardt, Grunow and Deis are offering their first week of workshops in Nekoosa, Wis., June 17-21, and will offer their second week of workshops in Lodi, Wis., June 24-28.

Written by: Eileen McGuine, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, mcguinee@uwplatt.edu

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