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One Hundred County Teachers Study Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics at Clarkson University
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/mbeck.jpg]
This summer, nearly 100 teachers from St. Lawrence County moved to the other side of the desk and became students, participating in professional development institutes at Clarkson University.
The week-long workshops focused on new developments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"Teachers were given a unique opportunity to be involved in professional development that integrates STEM topics and applies these concepts to relevant and real-world problems through working with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, who have sophisticated equipment in laboratory work space, computing facilities and other resources of higher education," said Gail Gotham, BOCES project director for program planning and development.
Clarkson professors integrated sophisticated concepts with hands-on activities to assist teachers in developing new skills and lessons for their classrooms.
Peter Turner, acting dean of Clarkson’s School of Arts and Sciences echoed Gotham’s comments and added that "this partnership affirms Clarkson’s commitment to serving the North Country community through service to its teachers and youth."
The human genome was analyzed in Exploring Modern Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Evolution, while DNA and blood samples were examined as forensic evidence in CSI: Potsdam.
Using powerful scanning electron microscopy equipment, participants "saw" high resolution images of sub-atomic nanoparticles that are less than one-billionth of a meter during Finding Nano. Teachers "played with" complex math equations during the creation of colorful animations and original computer games during the Computer Graphics institute.
Computers also figured into several institutes. In Conservation Science, samples of regional growth patterns and species diversity were plotted and analyzed; and identity theft and privacy issues were explored in Cyber Civics.
Robots, large and small, reigned supreme as teachers connected sensors and programmed them to complete simple and complex feats during several workshops. Prof. James Carroll, the workshops’ leader, noted that the "goal is go beyond the stereotypic robot by expanding the understandings of how robotics can be integrated into classroom lessons that apply available technology such as remote monitoring, temperature sensors and data collection and analysis."
Other workshops occurred during the school year. Classroom activities that bring awareness and knowledge to young consumers were explored during the Energy Literacy workshop. And Contest to Classroom gave 300 students access to regional competitions for Science Olympiad, Math Counts, CoMap, the Energy Science Fair and IMPETUS.
"Our goal in developing these institutes is to excite our youth and inspire them to pursue careers in STEM disciplines, such as biomolecular engineering, digital arts and production, and aeronautical design," said Turner.
The workshops were sponsored by St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, in partnership with Clarkson University, and funded through a grant from the New York State Education Department.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: Ogdensburg Free Academy teacher Meaghan Beck places an artificial bird nest with a quail egg and a decoy clay egg during a conservation workshop. The research determines whether there are more predators at a forest’s edge or interior, due to human interaction like a road cut through the forest.