By Kayleigh Rahn
Tuscola elementary teachers are hoping to create a new generation of problem solvers with the help of a grant from Cabot Corp.
Under the leadership of Cabot employee Tammy Bennett, Cabot and Tuscola schools have created a partnership to bring an engineering-based science curriculum to each of the district’s elementary grade levels. The program is coined EiE, or Engineering is Everywhere, and has been used in all 50 states and exposed to 16 million students, according to its website. The proven cross-curricular science program takes a look at problem solving while focusing on the scientific process in real life scenarios around the world.
The grant has paid for the curriculum material, lab supplies, and training for teachers to best implement the EiE program. The training came in two phases–an onsite two-day training at North Ward for the local teachers and an immersive training for two district representatives, third grade teacher Angie Bergner and fifth grade teacher Carmen Morgan, who will attend a coordinator training in Boston in July.
While students were enjoying summer break, Tuscola’s elementary teachers were busy volunteering their summers for the two-day, hands-on training session at North Ward in the final days of May.
“I think everyone is excited to receive the curriculum in general, because we have been creating our own for the last few years,” Bergner said, “so having something that’s researched based and something that’s laid out for us has been so nice.”
“In the beginning, when we started teaching, curriculum was oftentimes laid out like this,” Morgan added. “Then with funding cuts, we were taking on the responsibility of being the curriculum writers and implementing it, which became a lot of time and money on top of everything else. It is nice to have it all laid out.”
The program will be integrated into Tuscola classrooms in three levels, the first is EiE for kindergarten that introduces the young students to the concepts of asking questions and problem solving by using stories and reasoning skills. The next level, Engineering is Elementary, will be pieced into the science curriculums through the grade school levels. Morgan noted that this program will not replace the curriculum that is in place, but, since the program is divided into standards, it will be used as a culminating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project at the close of specific units.
Finally, the sixth through eighth grades will have the opportunity to introduce the curriculum into the after school science club in what is called Engineering is Everywhere, which is broken into several lessons and experiments that can be completed in the hour the club meets after school.
“What we really want to do is to create a generation of problem solvers right here in Tuscola,” Bennett said during a recent school board meeting.
During training, the teachers spent time learning the activities, a variety of problem solving techniques, and putting the curriculum into place within their lesson plans.
The full story can be found in the July 3, 2019 edition of The Tuscola Journal.