Ivy Tech hosts training for area high school teachers to learn to integrate STEM project into classrooms

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington’s electrical engineering technology program provided a week of professional development to teach Bloomfield Junior/Senior High School teachers and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) instructors how to incorporate a hands-on STEM project into classroom curriculum. The training was held August 1 through 5 at Ivy Tech and teachers will integrate the project into curriculum for the 2016-17 school year.

“We’re hoping to sneak a little bit of STEM into high school curriculum through fun, creative projects to make electrical engineering technology less intimidating,” said Tom Lucas, Ivy Tech electrical engineering technology instructor, who led the STEM project instruction at Ivy Tech. “With the high demand for STEM careers, we hope to interest students early, and eventually grow this program to more schools.”

Lucas taught computing, algebra, and physics instructors how to program and build a robotic “intruder detection system” using Arduino microprocessors. The systems detect motion with a camera, take a photo of the intruder, use algebra to calculate the speed and direction of the intruder, and send a drone to that location. Lucas teaches the same project in Ivy Tech’s Intro to Microcontrollers course.

The project is in partnership with the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration at the IU School of Education, Bloomfield School District, NSWC Crane, DirectEmployers Institute and IUPUI’s STEM Education Innovation Research Institute. It is part of the “Workplace Simulation Project,” funded by the IU Collaborative Research Grant (IUCRG) and Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council.

The workshop is one of many technology outreach projects Ivy Tech has hosted. Kirk Barnes, Dean of Ivy Tech Bloomington’s School of Technology, regularly collaborates with middle and high schools to promote STEM initiatives through fun, hands-on classes and projects. Barnes hosts an annual robotics competition at Ivy Tech, in partnership with the Bloomington Robotics Club, which draws hundreds of participants from across the state each year. Ivy Tech also offers a popular Robot Workshop for grades 4 through 12.

Others involved in the training were Dionne Cross Francis, director of the center for P-16 research and collaboration at the IU School of Education and Verily Tan, graduate research assistant; and Luis Escobar, research assistant of IUPUI’s STEM Education Research Institute.

Indiana University led the curriculum portion of the professional development week, to help teachers align the STEM project with the Indiana Academic Standards for College and Career Readiness.

NSWC Crane will teach and mentor the high school students at the participating schools on Fridays during the 2016-17 school year.

Ivy Tech Bloomington offers associate degrees and short-term certificates that lead to careers in electrical engineering technology, engineering technology, electronics and computer technology, computing and informatics, among other areas. For information visit www.ivytech.edu/bloomington. Fall classes begin August 22. To enroll, visit www.ivytech.edu/applynow, stop into Ivy Tech Bloomington located at 200 Daniels Way, or call (812) 330-6013. Ivy Tech is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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