WARNER ROBINS -- World-class training in a word-class setting is how one teacher described educator workshops Saturday at the Museum of Aviation.
The sessions were part of the Second Annual NASA S.T.E.M. Day at the museum. Fifty-four teachers and student teachers from around Georgia came to get ideas and tips on how to teach and excite students about science, technology, engineering and math.
Sessions were led by NASA representatives, university professors, science professionals and area teachers already on board with NASA’s educational programs.
“This is world-class adult education,” said Valerie Curry, a teacher at Amana Academy, a charter science school in Alpharetta. “It’s just what we need: hands-on training that is right in line with state standards. Whoever put this together did their homework. Even in the handouts, we’re getting short, easy-to-follow instructions for things we’ll be able to take right to our classrooms.”
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Curry said she was planning to use ideas and videos supplied at the workshop in her fourth-grade class this week as she teaches on simple machines.
In addition to what was taught, Curry was also complimentary of the way the NASA S.T.E.M. day was organized.
“There’s been no wasted time,” she said. “That’s unusual for a lot of teacher training events. Things here have gotten right to the point, and we’ve stayed at it. We appreciate that.”
Sessions were geared for age-specific learning and carried titles such as “Farming in Space,” “Johnny’s Airport Adventure,” “Exploring the Standards: Incorporating Lego Robots in the Classroom” and “Exploring Space Through Math.”
The Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project was on hand with telescopes and electronic viewing devices in the museum’s amphitheater to let teachers and museum guests explore solar storms, coronal mass ejections and other solar events, an activity many teachers said was particular timely in light of recent solar flares.
The solar educational project is the work of Stephen Ramsden, an Atlanta air traffic controller who said he has turned his passion for solar exploration into a learning experience for children and adults across the Southeast.
“Learning science at an early age has led to both my wife, Natalie, and my success,” Ramsden said. “Instead of spending all we earn on ourselves, we’ve invested in helping others learn and get excited about science.”
Ramsden operates a website at charliebates.org. He said presentations he does on his days off with the non-profit solar project already are booked up for the remainder of the school year.
Organizers said Saturday’s event was not only to give teachers a day’s worth of usable training but to introduce them to ongoing resources available at the museum’s NASA resource center.
Clare Swinford, coordinator of the center, said the day allowed teachers to preview and learn about NASA-produced educational materials, all of which focus on S.T.E.M. disciplines. She said the center has numerous resources available, including regular hands-on workshops for all types of educators, from public and private classroom teachers to home-school groups and scout leaders.
More information about the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center is available by calling Swinford at 222-7547.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.