How They Began –
The spark that became the Arizona Science Lab, founded in 2009 under the Phoenix Section of the IEEE non-profit professional engineering organization, began when a few local members of the organization attended a Teacher In-Service Program (TISP) training session.
In this session, IEEE professionals taught these local volunteers how to transfer their engineering, science, and mathematics real-world experiences to teachers and educators. During this session it became obvious to the engineering volunteers that, while teaching the teachers better ways to present this engineering material to their students was a good thing, it could be an even better idea to present the information directly to the students. They took the giant leap of starting a program to teach this material directly to the students. This was the beginning of the AZ Science Lab workshop program, the primary focus of the organization.
But, the AZ Science Lab volunteers also learned from this training that teaching the teachers was a very good thing to do. ASL has offered TISP workshops to groups of local school teachers over its many years in operation in addition to its student workshops.
What They Do –
These TISP workshops try to improve the teaching of STEM subjects by interacting with grade 4-8 teachers, focusing on how different teaching methods and teaching approaches work to greatly improve STEM education and student motivation. These TISP workshops expand the STEM subject knowledge of the teachers and improve their STEM teaching skills and techniques.
The ASL instructors stress the basic science, engineering, and mathematics principles the students should be learning and using at their grade level and how science dictates the design and performance of everyday objects. The instructors take the teachers through the ASL student workshops and through the hands-on design and construction projects, where students then apply the principles they have learned, reinforcing those STEM principles they have been taught.
The TISP workshops are tailored to the specific needs of the attending teachers. They work through the science behind four of our workshops, for example, Rockets, Waterwheels, Sail Away, and Motors. We can do any 4 of our workshops that the teachers feel they need the most help with. This is most important for us – tailor the program to the teachers attending. The idea is not to teach each of the workshops themselves, but to talk about the scientific principles they invoke. We use the student workshops as the framework, but don’t go through the many slide details, just the outline of each. We spend time talking about the principles that the teachers need the most help with.
We generally cover the various demonstrations that are used to convey the science and engineering concepts. We also talk about how they could make similar demonstrations to use in their classes. We also do a short talk about the engineering vs. scientific processes. At the end we provide contact information so that teachers can schedule student workshops and contact us later if they need answers to questions about a particular concept. Our TISP workshops provide lunch and a certificate of completion for teacher CEU credits.
So, Why Attend?
We know that the phrase "Professional Development" can sound like a bad note to many teachers. One friend told us, "I'd rather do anything but go to that session!", Yet, we also know it's a fact of life, but more importantly, an opportunity to grow - if you're lucky to hit on the right class or workshop.
One of our major goals is to help teachers feel more comfortable and effective teaching STEM material, especially in the primary grades.
We will be offering our 8-hour Teacher In-Service Program (TISP) Training Workshops this coming year. We'll cover the demonstrations and exercises we use in our workshops and answer your questions about the science behind them you need to be an effective teacher! AND you get CEU credit as part of your professional development requirements.
These are small, informal sessions, and will provide a good refresher on the scientific and engineering processes, the basic physics of simple machines, forces, energy, laws of motion, and other topics.
So – to get further information on our TISP offerings and encourage us to offer more of them, contact our Registrar, Roy Zaborowski, at REGISTRAR@AZSCIENCELAB.ORG or 602-993-9557 (H), 602-689-3950 (C).