The 2019 STEM Teacher Externship Forum capped another record-breaking summer and the tenth year of STEM Teacher Externships. Nearly 100 teacher externs, extern mentors and workplace hosts attended the event held at the Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny Campus (DMACC).
Dr. Rob Denson, President of DMACC, and Dr. Jeff Weld, Executive Director of the STEM Council, opened the day with insights into the important role of STEM education in students’ future. The first breakout session featured a recap of summer experiences and sharing project-based learning applications. Teacher externs shared how working side-by-side with skilled and knowledgeable employees can help bring classroom curriculum to life. This conversation incorporated how workplace hosts might partner with the externs in the future and how there could be additional collaboration.
Dr. Ryan Wise, Director of the Iowa Department of Education, was the keynote speaker and shared information about how the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning can connect schools with businesses for work-based learning projects for students.
The second breakout session focused on how to best utilize teacher externs and strengthen school-workplace partnerships. The forum concluded with an opportunity for teacher externs to discuss lesson development, implementation, assessment and cross-curricular connections of project-based learning to translate in their classrooms this fall.
Alex O’Connell, an algebra 1 and geometry teacher at Jesup High School, was an extern at John Deere. Based on his experience, he shared a classroom application of giving defective parts from a workplace to students to analyze and determine the best course of action to fix the problem. As part of this experience, students would need to understand linear relationships, linear systems and be able to compare data on a chart or table.
For more classroom application or general information about the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/externships.