Two faculty members part of state science, technology educational partnership

Two faculty members part of state science, technology educational partnership

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Lycoming College recently hosted a meeting and planning session for the Pennsylvania Multi-Region Math Science STEM Partnership Project, an approximately $4.2 million three-year grant that will educate teachers across the state for professional development in science and math common core standards.

According to Dr. Charles Mahler, assistant professor of chemistry at Lycoming, the goal of the grant is to improve teaching of science and math in Pennsylvania schools and involves 17 faculty members from five colleges and universities – including two from Lycoming.

“More than 150 teachers from several regions of the state, who teach grades three through 12, are involved,” Mahler said. “We will spend three days at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a week at Immaculata University, then meet in smaller groups in the regions through the course of the academic year.”

Mahler represents one of the science educators and Dr. Michael Smith, assistant professor of math at Lycoming, is one of the mathematics educators. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is an initiative to ensure that American students do not lag behind their international peers in these subjects. A recent Wall Street Journal report indicated that more than two-thirds of U.S. eight graders still lack a solid grasp of science facts, according to figures released in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The project’s regional director is Dr. David Morgan, a 1969 Lycoming graduate. Partners of the program include Lycoming, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Immaculata University, University of Pittsburgh at Greenburg, University of Scranton and Albright College.

In addition to paying the teachers for this additional training, the grant also provides accompanying materials for use in the classroom and a new iPad mini for teachers to encourage the use of technology in the classroom as part of the STEM initiatives.

Morgan stressed that the educators are not creating new curriculum or teaching elementary students; rather, they are working with adult learners so those educators can bring back that knowledge to their classrooms. The educational activities at Lycoming also included rocket launches of 4-foot rockets equipped with cameras to encourage the educators to use innovative teaching methods.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit www.lycoming.edu.

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