"Next" Magazine Vol. 3 Fall 2016 - Page 20

S T EM I MPAC T in sixth grade, and I wanted my students to show growth in the skills the program teaches most indepth, such as spatial reasoning,” said Vicki Aurelius, who was the first teacher in Kentucky to sign up to collaborate with the Wilhelms. (They had previously had success using the curriculum in Texas.) The Wilhelms went to Lexington’s Jessie Clark Middle School every other week to teach Aurelius and another sixth-grade science teacher the REAL curriculum, so they could have an authentic learning experience. It then helped them teach the lessons to their own students. Today, nearly every science teacher at Jessie Clark is trained in the REAL curriculum. Walcott “Every year, the data has proved that my students, and especially the girls (who often lag behind boys in the areas covered by this particular curriculum), showed significant growth,” Aurelius said. When K-12 teachers and research professors collaborate, it often leads to enriching opportunities outside the classroom. Aurelius was recently part of a group lead by Wilhelm that traveled to Oakridge National Laboratory in Oakridge, Tennessee. The ultimate highlight of the collaboration for her occurred last November when she and fellow teacher Lauren Moorhead joined Wilhelm and STEM doctoral student Merryn Cole at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Philadelphia, where they presented the REAL curriculum to a national audience. There are likely to be lasting changes at Jessie Clark, based on the collaboration with UK. Wilhelm has expertise in how to develop effective projectbased learning, which is woven into the REAL curriculum. “This has given me experience and confidence in guiding students through this type of unit,” Aurelius said. “Kentucky has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards that heavily promote this style of teaching and learning. I am now confidently re-designing, with my collegial partners at Jessie Clark, all of our existing units.” Drs. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Christa Jackson and Bruce Walcott, with teacher partners Dr. Craig Schroeder and Mr. Mark Evans, Utilizing STEM Camps and STEM Clubs to increase interest in STEM fields among females and students of color, Funded by the National Science Foundation ($750,000) With funding from the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the UK College of Education partners with the UK College of Engineering on a yearly See Blue STEM Camp, targeting rising middle grades students (grades 5-8) especially females, students of colors and students disinterested in STEM. The grant also covers annual outreach efforts, such as STEM events in local schools, and a STEM club. The grant has been recognized as one of the top five National Science Foundation (NSF) models for broadening participation in STEM from underrepresented groups, which was announced at the 2015 National EPSCoR Conference in Portsmouth, NH. Bottge bridging gap between research, practice Dr. Brian Bottge is known for his research in teaching math to struggling students – and for helping teachers put the findings into action. Bottge has spent most of his career helping bridge the gap between universitylevel research and practice, bringing math to life for thousands of students. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky, he was professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he achieved Professor Emeritus status. Prior to assuming university positions, 20 | Bottge gained valuable experience as a special educator at the elementary and middle school levels for 10 years, an assessment coordinator for a large school district in Minnesota for 10 years and a Peace Corps teacher volunteer. Known as Enhanced Anchored Instruction, the methods Bottge studies are designed specifically for adolescents with learning disabilities, but have been effective with students at all achievement levels. continued on page 27 Bottge