SOE Initiatives Address Dire Needs in STEM Education

The urgent needs in STEM education –science, technology, engineering and math—are constantly in the news and it is up to regional schools and teachers to promote these fields and support student achievement. The School of Education offers a number of professional development opportunities and courses to help classroom teachers, as well as programs to excite students about studying STEM subjects. Below are just some of the programmatic offerings that illustrate the School of Education’s deep commitment to improving science study and STEM instruction.

New STEM-D Sequence

The School of Education has just launched a unique and innovative STEM-D Sequence to enhance teachers’ mastery of content and methodology in instruction at the elementary and middle school grade levels. Developed in collaboration with Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and the Hudson River Teacher Center, this new, 12-credit hybrid sequence of courses will enhance the learning experiences for you and your students and broaden your ability to engage students in real world applications of STEM subjects. Perfect for elementary and middle school teachers, this program has been developed around the Common Core Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. The flexible course schedule will begin in Summer 2014, with a Summer 2015 completion, with discounted tuition for the first cohort of educators in this new program. An informational open house for this program was held in early March, but if you would like to learn more about the School of Education’s STEM-D Sequence, please contact Dr. Gerald Ardito via email or at (212) 618-6958, or Dr. Sandy Flank, via email or at (914) 773-3653.

SOE, Pace University Schools Receive Grant to promote STEAM Engagement

A JUNK performer engages students in an inquiry-based demonstration of physics concepts and levers using doors during the March 7 STEAM workshop in New York.        

The School of Education, together with Dyson College of Arts & Sciences and Seidenberg School of Computer Sciences and Information Systems, was awarded a $15,000 grant in February 2014 from Time Warner Cable to enhance STEM education through the lens of the performing arts. The funding specifically supported a pilot “Pace STEAM” program to combine math and science topics with the performing arts. On March 7, in collaboration with Education Alliance, Pace faculty led an after-school workshop for approximately 50 middle school students from MS 188-an underserved school in the East Village- with the acclaimed experimental dance troupe JUNK to explore using found-objects and dance choreography to give life and movement to computer coding concepts. After the workshop, students and their families enjoyed a performance by JUNK at the Michael Schimmel Center on Pace’s downtown campus. This workshop is the first of what hopes to be many other events to promote STEAM learning among students, especially students traditionally underrepresented in the  Teachers and students from the after-school program will be invited to participate in additional, ongoing arts and STEM activities at Pace.

Science Saturdays

We’re not only engaging urban students in STEM activities. This year marks the third of our successful Science Saturdays program for Westchester area students in grades 4-8. Science Saturdays bring a myriad of science concepts to life for participating students in Croton, White Plains and Briarcliff schools. Sessions began in early October 2013 and will continue through late April, with topics ranging from chemistry, computer programming, ecology & environmental study, and microbiology. There are also special sessions for students to learn Scratch, an MIT-developed programming platform for kids to learn how to program interactive stories, games and animations, while developing skills that are critical to success with contemporary learning technologies. 85 children have participated in the program this year.

The approach works. An ecology lesson about reducing carbon footprints made connections between the study of environmental science and the impact of consumers’ everyday decisions for Croton 4th-8th graders in early February of this year. One student remarked that they left that workshop thinking about “how things that we don`t even think about effect the earth,” while another declared “we need to reduce our carbon footprint, and every small change we make can set an example to help make the world a greener place.”  In a White Plains session last year, 4th and 5th grade boys conducted chemistry experiments with Sandra Flank, PhD, professor emeritus at the School of Education. “I liked it and I want to take chemistry in high school,” one boy reflected. “I think that [the session] was too short, especially that I was having fun. I wish I could spend the whole day with [Professor] Flank doing this.”

Pace STEM Collaboratory

The School of Education is an active partner with the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems on the Pace STEM Collaboratory, a program that facilitates interdisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas among students, faculty, and staff in STEM disciplines, improves and supports STEM teaching and learning at the middle and high-school levels through continued and expanded relationships with regional public schools, including those in New York City.

The Collaboratory continues to engage a multitude of audiences to advance STEM learning and achievement. In addition to the STEAM workshop on March 7, the Collaboratory’s leaders, Dr. Lauren Birney from the School of Education and Dr. Jonathan Hill (Seidenberg) continue to present  their findings on experiential science learning at major science education conferences throughout the country. They have also several major, competitive grant proposals under consideration with the National Science Foundation and New York State, to stimulate science education among under-served students and in special education.

STEM-D Conference

On May 15, the School of Education is pleased to present a one-day conference, Rethinking STEM-D: Innovative Practices from the Field, at the Pace Graduate Center at One Martine Avenue in White Plains. Presented in collaboration with The Lower Hudson Teacher Center Network, The New York Technology Educators Network and Southern Westchester BOCES, this day-long conference, will be a outstanding opportunity for educators to learn and share best practices for engaging and fostering success in the sciences among students of all ages and grade levels. Keynote addresses will be presented by Vicki Cobb, science education advocate, author/blogger and hands-on science educator, and Stephen Jacobs, a renowed expert in education media, design and game development. The conference costs $25 for attendees. To register, please click here. For more information about the conference, including the slate of presentations, visit our event information site.