Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 21, 1999

NSF grant funds new courses

Teachers learn to promote science, math, engineering

by Arianna McKinney
News Service intern

A two-year, $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will help create four courses to teach K-12 teachers how to foster in their students an appreciation for science, mathematics and engineering.

Loren Zachary, assistant dean in the College of Engineering, is the principal investigator for the 14-member team of faculty and staff from the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Education and Agriculture. Team members will develop a summer workshop for teachers and create related Web sites.

Two of the new courses, "Engi-neering Mechanics for Teachers" and "Mobile Robots for High School Teachers," will focus on engineering. "Insects in the Elementary Classroom," will focus on entomology and a fourth class will look at botany. The entomology course will be the first available to students, during spring semester 2000.

"The accent in all the courses is on doing," Zachary said. "They will increase teachers' knowledge of the sciences and show them hands-on projects they can use in their classrooms."

Zachary and Janet Sharp, curriculum and instruction, collaborated on the grant proposal, aimed at increasing the knowledge of pre-service and practicing teachers in math, science and engineering so that their students will receive a better background in these areas.

"We hope to create teachers who have a very strong knowledge base in math and science," Sharp said. "Future teachers don't really get a chance to study engineering. These courses will give them that opportunity."

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