Our 2016 – 2017 Teacher Academy was a Huge Success

Our 2016-2017 Teacher Academy was a huge success. This year’s theme was “Bridging the Gap between Public Health and Transportation.” This was a timely theme as news stories centered on the Zika Virus and travel warnings to various locations; some of which suffered a tremendous economic impact (e.g., the Brazil Olympics). All three STEM Teacher Academy sessions focused on building math, science and engineering principles and translating them into classroom activities and lesson plans. We were able to show the teachers how to incorporate various technological tools into the classroom like, spheros (programmable robots) and motion detectors. To apply the content that they learned in each session, teachers began a STEM Design Challenge. The intent was to present a real world problem that exists within the “Gap between Public Health and Transportation.” Each session allowed the teachers an opportunity to utilize the Engineering Design Process toward addressing problems. This Year’s challenge was the “Sick City Challenge”. Each grade-level cohort was given a public health concern, such as obesity or asthma and was asked to improve the health of the people by changing a transportation related feature. Overall, this year’s cohort of teachers gained rich pedagogical knowledge in the area of implementing STEM education in their classrooms. They engaged in various hands-on activities at every session that could be replicated and shared at their schools across the state of Georgia.