Teachers Reach Across Their Schools To Enrich Student Learning

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Educators play the role of students during a hands-on learning activity at Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative Workshop for regional teachers
Educators play the role of students during a hands-on learning activity at Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative Workshop for regional teachers
The region’s progress in bringing real-world learning activities into the classroom was evident on Monday when teachers from Hamilton, McMinn, Bradley and Marion counties convened for a new training focused on collaboration across subject areas. The workshop held in downtown Chattanooga and sponsored by the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub convened educators in science, mathematics and Career & Technical Education. 

This groundbreaking training gained attention from state-level leaders in education due to its unique approach to connecting teachers. “I think this CTE-STEM training is a model that should be shared across the state,” said Bethany Wilkes from the Tennessee Department of Education. “Bridging the strengths of these diverse courses together better prepares our students for college and careers.”  

CTE, sometimes referred to as vocational education, may bring to mind a high school auto shop class. In reality, today’s Career & Technical Education department offers programs in high-demand workforce areas such as Engineering, Biotechnology, and Software Development. CTE also has a long history of providing students with hands-on activities which incorporate local business partnerships into the learning process.   

Monday’s workshop brought together CTE instructors and teachers of science and math courses to create new projects for students. Teams of at least two teachers from a school attended the event where they collaboratively designed new projects connecting multiple courses. Testing the ionic bonding of fertilizer for Agriculture and Chemistry students, designing wheelchair accessible ramps in Construction and Geometry classes, and creating mechanical games for Physics and Engineering students were just a few of the lessons the teachers began developing during the session.  

Leaders at the STEM Innovation Hub believe bringing CTE and regular education teachers together gives students the best of both worlds. “Pairing the rigorous coursework of academic subjects with the hands-on, career-oriented projects found in CTE helps students apply complex concepts and deepen their understanding of the material,” said Keri Randolph, director of Learning at the STEM Hub.  

The organization also notes the valuable community connections these projects can provide to schools. “Hands-on projects give schools an opportunity to approach a local business and ask for expertise,” said Tracey Carisch, managing director of the STEM Hub. “In making a small request of a professional’s time, teachers can connect the students to career options as well as open the door to future partnerships with business and industry.” 

Teachers at the workshop will return to their schools with new connections to colleagues and expanded ideas for hands-on learning activities. “I love this connection to CTE,” said Barbie Buckner, a science teacher at Bradley Central High School. “It brings in the practical application of the concepts I teach and lets the kids see where science meets their life.”  

To learn more about the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub and its programs, visit www.GoGetSTEM.org.                     


Educators share their ideas for hands-on learning during Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative workshop
Educators share their ideas for hands-on learning during Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative workshop

Lu And Liu Take First Place In Lee’s Piano Competition

Yun Lu and Vincent Liu took first place in the 12th annual Lee University piano competitions for the collegiate and pre-collegiate divisions, respectively. The award ceremony concluded the International Piano Festival and Competition held June 12-18.  For the pre-collegiate division, second place was awarded to Jonathan Reichenberger, with third place going to Eriko Darcy ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern's GED Center To Hold Orientation

Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) GED Center is holding an orientation for the public on  June 28 and July 12 at 2 p.m.  Visitors will learn what to expect if you choose to enroll in the college’s GED preparatory classes at the college’s Chattooga County location. These free sessions will be held at the Summerville Adult Education Center at 152 Senior ... (click for more)

Preserving 90-Year-Old Grammar School Just One Of Challenges Facing Town, Signal Council Told

Rather than spend millions upgrading Signal Mountain ’s historic grammar school so it can continue to house the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC), it would make more sense to incorporate that project into a larger multi-pronged one that would solve several issues facing the community, according to town manager Boyd Veal.   For example, Mr. Veal said, the current ... (click for more)

Firefighters Put Out Fire In Compost Pile At City's Wood Recycling Center

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a fire at the city's wood recycling center on N. Hawthorne Street around noon on Sunday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman said the smoke and flames could be seen from several miles away.   Firefighters with five fire companies worked to get the blaze under control, using master streams from two aerials and some hand-held hoselines. The ... (click for more)

Improvements Needed At Entrance To Wilcox Tunnel

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention to a city traffic issue that needs to be addressed immediately, the sooner the better. I can see no large cost factor.   Recently, while as a concerned citizen, removing trash and litter from the entry/exit area of the Wilcox Tunnel on the side that runs into Chamberlain Avenue, I fully realized that this area could ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)