Award-winning science and math projects from Pre-K through 12 classrooms were featured in a mini-conference Friday, March 1, "Spotlight on STEM," in the University of Northern Iowa's Innovative Teaching & Technology Center (ITTC).
Educators and their students from throughout the state, along with UNI faculty, talked about their work through table displays, demonstrations and presentations. They discussed the challenges they face as they integrate the inquiry process, technology and new science- and/or math-based programs into their STEM classrooms while still meeting their school's need to increase student achievement. The projects are among winners in the Title II IMPACT (IMPacting Achievement with Collaborations and Technology) program, the federally funded GLOBE or STORM programs, or outstanding projects in AEA 1.
Lisa Chizek, North Tama 5th and 6th Grade Science teacher was among the presenters at the event, sponsored by UNI's Information Technology Services (ITS)-Educational Technology division. Students Karly Jans, Caleb DeBoef, Noah Bond, Emma Scherrer and Carissa Calderwood also attended the day, giving the presentations and demonstrations alongside their teacher about their project the ISS (International Space Station) Science Challenge. Donna DeBoef, North Tama parent and STEM volunteer also went with the North Tama group. UNI faculty participating included Patricia Higby, Instructor, Center for Energy & Environmental Education; Mary McDade, Instructor, Biology; and Cherin Lee, professor of biology. Doreen Hayek of the ITS-Educational Technology department at UNI directed the day's activities,
Above, North Tama students from Liza Chizek’s class participate in a March 1 “Spotlight on STEM” event, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math activities to make students more competitive in the high-tech fields of the future. Below, the students give their presentation to the many distinguished faculty members at UNI’s Tech Center.
The day began with a welcome at 8:45 a.m. by Craig Johnson, Director of the Iowa Academy of Science, and an opportunity for presenters to view the other Spotlight Gallery displays. From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., The Spotlight Gallery (table displays) were open to the public in the ITTC Student Lounge area. Following lunch and activities with UNI faculty, a series of 20-minute "Spotlight Presentations" took place, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., in the Studio IT classrooms, with closing comments by UNI Earth Science Professor Dr. Alan Czarnetzki.