STEAM training gets off to rousing start

First of three sessions has 30-plus participants enthused about teaching STEM subjects

STEAM spaghetti

Participants used uncooked pasta and masking tape to illustrate it’s possible to craft classroom activities without spending a lot of money or using high-tech equipment.

Spring-like weather made an appropriate backdrop March 7 to the first of three Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub training sessions at Umpqua Community College.

The season of new beginnings is the perfect environment for launching the professional development series aimed at cultivating young minds to the rewards of STEAM subjects.

More than 30 attendees gathered at the UCC Technology Building to share ideas and engage in hands-on activities. Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub Project Manager Lisa A. Lanza said the March 7 gathering surpassed organizers’ expectations.

“We had an excellent turnout and energized guest presenters,” Lisa said. “We were able to bring together a mix of participants who were very motivated.”

In addition to elementary, middle and high school teachers, the session drew a varSTEAM PDUiety of educators from multiple sectors such as Phoenix Charter School, Career & Technical Education, Friends of Mildred Kanipe Park, 4-H, the Woolley Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley and UCC.

Mark Lewis, director of STEM for the Oregon Education Investment Board, gave a spirited presentation on the merits of education in the STEM disciplines. Participants used uncooked pasta and masking tape for an exercise that illustrated it’s possible to craft classroom activities without spending a lot of money or using high-tech equipment.

Two more STEAM Hub workshops are planned, both at UCC’s Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center, on April 18 and June 13. Both are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lisa said organizers will use feedback from an exit survey as they plan the next sessions. According to the data collected from the first session, participants would like to see lesson models aimed at math and technology, incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards.

“Participants also said they would like more time to collaborate with each other,” she said. “Additionally, we created an online or virtual collaboratory for them to access resources and lesson plan models and have online discussions so they can keep in touch.

“Going forward, we hope to continue to collaborate with the various organizations and schools and connect with them in various projects as they continue to emerge.”

Learn more about our Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub projects and find resources.