PULSE 2.0 – The STEM Success Continues

While the “2.0” hints of a sequel, IU13’s Partnership to Understand and Lead STEM Education (PULSE) initiative never missed a beat as efforts continue thanks to renewed multi-year federal grant funding. PULSE 2.0 expands efforts to provide elementary and middle-school teachers (Grades 3-8) in Lancaster and Lebanon County districts and nonpublic schools with intensive STEM professional development in science and math content, and STEM pedagogy.

STEM Institute - site visit“Receiving the Math/Science Partnership Grant again is a testament to the good work of our area teachers and school districts, who are continually striving for new heights in STEM education,” commented Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director of IU13. “Our districts and IU13 have worked collectively over the past three years to deepen the STEM content knowledge and daily application for the teachers, in a way that can then be transferred to their classrooms. It’s exciting and rewarding to know that our local students will continue benefiting from this good work.”

The new phase of the project kicked off the year’s program in July with the Summer STEM Institute. The theme of the 2016 Institute was “Pennsylvania Agriculture,” which provided the context for math, science, and engineering design. Ten school districts were represented, including both public and nonpublic schools within IU13 and IU15. During the 2-week Institute, participants spent time working as interdisciplinary school-based teams.

STEM InstituteLand models, water systems, algebraic problem solving and geometric reasoning served as the foundation for the Institute. In the spirit of STEM education, it was important to integrate these topics in a real-world context. The theme of agriculture emerged as an excellent connection among these topics. As a culminating activity, teachers were tasked with designing an environmentally friendly farm using their new understanding of land use, water management, algebraic problem solving, and geometry. To provide a real world example, the group took a trip to the Rodale Institute for Organic farming to get ideas and inspiration to take back and assist with their own farm designs.

The Institute consisted of workshops and training by faculty from Millersville University, Lebanon Valley College, the Lancaster County Conservation District, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and independent consultants with the goal of deepening teachers’ knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) content and pedagogy in order to increase teacher effectiveness, which will ultimately increase student achievement in math and science. 

For more information, please visit STEM Solutions at IU13.