Laing awarded “BEST” teacher grant from BOSCH
Dr. Mel Goodwin, STEM Coach at Laing Middle School, and pre-engineering teacher, Analyn Haynes have received a BEST teacher grant from BOSCH. The Bosch Eco+STEM Teacher (BEST) Grant Program advances sustainability and STEM education in ways that inspire, excite, and engage. The program supports innovative inquiry-based learning experiences by awarding grants of up to $2,000 to preschoolthrough 12th grade educators. BEST grantees have access to professional learning opportunities and a network of driven and like-minded colleagues.
Goodwin’s goal is to use the grant to increase interest in STEM careers among middle school students. The intention is to provide hands-on experiences using multiple technologies to solve real-world problems and improve academic performance by linking core curriculum standards, content and hands-on experiences with numerous technologies.
"We see this project as a catalyst that can help us address three critical problems facing our students and our community,” said Goodwin. “First is the increasingly severe shortage of critical talent needed by some of the nation's most important businesses and industries, and the impact this may be having on our state's ability to attract new businesses. Second is the gender gap in STEM professions and the fact that many of our students are not aware of important STEM career opportunities. Third is academic performance and the potential impact of STEM activities on student engagement, enthusiasm, and mastery of related academic content."
Goodwin and Haynes will develop a series of activities that provide interactive experiences with design, purposeful coding, fabrication, data acquisition for design and control, and analysis for data-driven decisions to achieve these objectives. These activities will be presented to sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students as part of a three-year pre-engineering program closely linked to core curriculum in science and English language arts classes and include career awareness and interaction with STEM professionals.
“We believe students will value this project because it will provide improved awareness and access to rewarding careers," said Haynes. "Our school will value this project because of improved academic performance, and our community will value this project because it offers a data-driven, research-based initiative to address the STEM workforce pipeline problem."
This project will leverage resources currently available in the school’s FabLab, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and electronic components such as microcontrollers. Using these types of technology are new experiences for most students and open opportunities that extend well beyond specific in-class activities. These opportunities help sustain engagement throughout the project.
“This grant provides our staff the resources to help reach our goal of developing students with the necessary skills they will need in the future,” said Principal Jay Whitehair. “By incorporating a STEM thought process in the minds of our students, they can become equipped to meet the challenges that will face them as they progress through middle school and into high school. I want to thank Dr. Goodwin and Mrs. Haynes for the initiative they have taken to obtain this grant and ultimately provide a benefit to our students.”