Amidst all of this, I recently volunteered to teach a new course; a Science Practicum that places students in public schools to learn how to teach science and engineering at the elementary K - 6 level. It will involve introducing students to the new Next Generation Science Standards and helping them learn how to implement inquiry-centered science activities based on these standards.
To do this I am hooking up with the Flynn Elementary School in Burlington, Vermont, which recently became a STEM Academy. It will be the third specialized K - 5 academy in Burlington joining the Integrated Arts and Sustainability Academies. The more I think about this partnership the more excited I become. I want to use this course as a way of supporting teacher and the school as they begin to implement the changes required of becoming a STEM academy. I want my students to be able to gain all sorts of experiences such as creating inquiry activities, science and engineering units of instruction, bulletin boards and web-sites, as well as working in the after-school STEM program and the anticipated garden project.
I want to be able to support the teachers at the school as they adapt their curriculum materials to incorporate the NGSSs and I can't think of a better way to do this than have my students work to undertake all the time-consuming things that need to be done. The experience of doing this will provide my students with unique opportunities to develop their own skills and understanding of what it means to teach science and engineering.