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Springfield College Faculty Develops Course to Boost Middle School Teachers' STEM Knowledge, Skills

July 21, 2009

Teachers are in the students' chairs July 17 to 22 as Greater Springfield middle school instructors learn the latest science and mathematics teaching techniques through a Springfield College program funded by the Pioneer Valley STEMNET and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Springfield College Associate Professor of Mathematics Fides P. Ushe and Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics Zenobia Lojewska developed the course “Integrating Physics and Mathematics for the Middle Grades” and are presenting it this week to 22 middle school teachers from the Pioneer Valley. During the upcoming academic year, they will conduct 20 additional hours of follow-up instruction for the middle school teachers.

In the summer course, middle school teachers use algebra, statistics and trigonometry to solve problems in concepts of force, motion, work and power, energy transformation, and forms of energy including mechanical, heat, electrical and magnetic.

The course and follow-up sessions are funded through a $34,500 grant from the commonwealth’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program. MSP supports collaboration between institutions of higher education and school districts on professional development activities that increase the knowledge and teaching skills of mathematics and science teachers. MSP requires that these activities result in a demonstrable improvement in student academic achievement in mathematics and/or science.

Beginning this September, Springfield College students of secondary education will also learn the course content. It will be an ongoing component of the college’s mathematics seminar for secondary school preservice teachers.

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