The Math & Science Through Engineering (MSTE) project is a professional development collaboration between MMSA, Maine Maritime Academy, Auburn School Department, Ridge View Community School (Dexter, AOS 94), Lake Region School District (MSAD 61), Mountain Valley & Dirigo Middle Schools (RSU 10), and Oxford Hills School District (SAD 17) for elementary and middle school teachers, as well as Portland/South Portland Learning Works, Biddeford Learning Works, and the Sanford Kids Club/Lebanon Kid Center for afterschool educators.
For school-day teachers, the goal of this project is to deepen K-8 teachers understanding of engineering a field unfamiliar to many teachers and not part of teacher preparation programs and help them put into place instruction that capitalizes on the connections between engineering and the math and science they are already teaching. For out-of-school providers, the goal is to increase their comfort with and capacity to engage students in engineering activities. The project is based on the premise that students engaged in carefully designed integrated instruction, built around engineering design challenges, will make significant gains in science and math content knowledge and practices.
MSTE teachers participate in ongoing regional professional learning communities, online book studies, and a three-day summer institute at Maine Maritime Academy. The project grows a network of schools that share strategies and effective instructional approaches for the integration of engineering into existing school curricula and develop exemplars of student work in K-8 engineering. The project is co-led by Lynn Farrin and Lisa Marchi.
Project activities include Share-a-Thon sessions, where teachers across the project listen to each other share highlights of their work, and online, asynchronous book studies.
We are in our third and final year of the project, with the grant closing at the end of August 2016. This year the teacher participants are focusing on developing a capstone project that integrates and highlights their learning from the first two years of the project. These will be published in a monograph. We continue to meet with teacher groups every two months to support them in this work. They are also drawing on the expertise of our higher education partners at Husson University and Maine Maritime Academy. We continue to provide out-of-school training to four CCLC programs: Biddeford BLAST, Portland Learning Works, Sanford Kids Club, and Lebanon Kid Connection. This work focuses on using Boston Museum of Science’s Engineering Adventures and Engineering is Elementary curricula, and other short engineering design challenges.
Near the end of 2015, ten teachers representing five schools participated in a training session focused on running a Family Engineering event. Each school represented received a copy of the Family Engineering Activity and Event Planning Guide, as well as funding to cover expenses for an event in their district. Recently, MSTE teachers have run Family Engineering events at six schools and in one afterschool program.