College of Education (COE) Institute for Teacher Education (ITE) Elementary faculty members received a $42,500 grant from the Hawaiʻi State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). Funding will support A STEM Lab for Teaching and Learning: Modernizing Elementary Teacher Preparation for the Future of Hawaiʻi’s Students.
The project team is comprised of ITE Elementary Instructors Aaron Sickel and Stacy George as well as ITE Elementary Associate Professor Lori Fulton. Under the direction of Sickel, the team will create a STEM lab for elementary teacher candidates to improve their learning and teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and integrated STEM.
“This project supports our goal as teacher educators to help future elementary teachers become as prepared as possible to teach the STEM subjects,” Sickel said. “The grant will greatly enhance the learning experiences we can now design within the elementary STEM courses, which will foster teacher candidates’ interdisciplinary thinking, creativity, and confidence in teaching STEM lessons with their elementary students.”
The DLIR grant will fund the purchase of materials and equipment to support COE students within elementary science, mathematics, and integrated STEM courses. These teacher candidates will use the materials to investigate concepts through hands-on learning; engage in engineering design projects and 3D printing; and explore connections among coding, science, and mathematics with robotics equipment. They will also have opportunities to check out the materials and use them during their field experiences in COE partner schools.
Sickel concluded, “Ultimately, this project serves a broader objective of developing students’ interest in the STEM subjects during the early years of learning through teacher education and by connecting the STEM lab to our partner schools. This, in turn, will help strengthen Hawaiʻi’s future STEM workforce.”