Five St. Croix Teacher Teams Chosen to Address International STEM Conference
Five St. Croix science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher teams have been accepted to present their classroom projects at the 7th annual International STEM Education Association (ISEA) STEM-Exposition and Conference Oct. 7-9 in Branson, MO. The conference will be attended from across the country and globe. The local teams will have the opportunity to showcase their projects in one hour, hands-on workshop sessions which may be adapted for use in classrooms elsewhere.
STEM education became a national initiative in 2015 when President Obama, in response to the United States’ declining performance in innovation, industry and invention challenged K-12 grade educational institutions to step up their games in these discipliners. In particular, the president called for educators to increase participation in these fields by women, girls and minorities. The initiative challenges educators to make classrooms more dynamic learning environments by engaging in hands-on projects with real-world applications in multiple learning areas which is what the conference will showcase.
Presenting at the fall conference will give the Virgin Islands teacher teams an opportunity to offer their projects for use in other STEM classrooms around the country, while garnering ideas to bring home to their own classrooms. Of the 13 teachers accepted to present, 11 will participate in the conference with travel and accommodations provided for by VI-ISERP. Nine of the presenters were originally scheduled to attend and present at this very conference in 2017 but could not attend as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
One of the winning projects took on the challenge of the destructive, ubiquitous lionfish and what can be done locally to slow down or stop the invasion. Cross-disciplinary STEM teacher team led by Risa Gordon, Nora Santana, and Ismael Rosado Jr. saw students affiliated with Virgin Islands Institute of STEM Education Research and Practice, University of the Virgin Islands and St. Croix Educational Complex initiate a public “Eat to Beat” campaign investigating how promoting the lionfish as a food source could help to control the population. As such, they participated in public lionfish events at the St. Croix annual Agricultural Fair and at the VI-EPSCoR funded Science Cafés. Along with the lighter fare, served at these events, the young people also found themselves using their research, debating and critical thinking skills to defend the use of lionfish as food against concerns that the fish could carry the ciguatera neurotoxin that can cause nausea, pain, cardiac, and neurological symptoms in humans. Students partnered with another community organization, Reef Responsible, to hold a lionfish festival where local chefs competed to create the best lionfish dish.
ISEA’s mission is bridging the connection between all areas of STEM education, providing guidelines for best teaching practices, supporting STEM classroom innovation and creativity, and by promoting and recognizing leading STEM educators and programs. ISEA also provides leadership through model facilities and serves as a clearing house for state-of the-art STEM curriculum models.
the winning projects and their teacher teams are listed here:
Developing and Assessing Integrated STEM Learning Outcomes In Green Homes Project Focusing on Energy Conservation
Educators: Celil Ekici, Janet Bernard, Ann Louise Wilkins
Affiliate Schools: VI Institute of STEM Education Research and Practice, Free Will Baptist Christian School and J.H. Woodson Middle School
Modeling of Environmental Impact of Improper Solid Waste Disposal In The Virgin Islands
Educators: Steve Lawrence, Ann Marie Gibbs, Celil Ekici, Andre Pompey and Michael Henry.
Affiliate Schools: VI Institute of STEM Education Research and Practice, St. Croix Central High School and St. Croix Educational Complex
Integrated STEM Projects With Robotics And Web Development; Exposing Students To Advanced Computer Coding In High School
Educators: Chris Plyley, Keith Smith Sr., Cassandra King and Michael Henry
Affiliated schools: VI Institute of STEM Education Research and Practice and St. Croix Educational Complex
Eat To Beat Campaign For Critically Conscious Community Based STEM Learning
Educators: Resa Gordon, Celil Ekici, Nora Santana and Ismael Rosado, Jr
Affiliated Schools: VI Institute of STEM Education Research and Practice, UVI and St. Croix Educational Complex
Using Robotics to Engage Middle School Students in Integrated STEM Learning
Educators: Jaynae Williams and Shana Gilbert
Affiliate School: J.H. Woodson Middle School