Iowa State University’s offering a course for teachers who want to add “engineering” to the three R’s in their k-12 classrooms. Curriculum specialist Janet Sharp explains it’ll offer activities that help teachers present things like math and science in more interesting ways.For example, have kids stretch objects and calculate the changing cross-section size. Sharp says it’s not aimed at making more work for classroom teachers.Rather than add things they must cover, the engineering ideas are used to get across ideas they’d be teaching anyway. She says teachers see the projects fit into their curriculum, so they must simply make sure they understand the engineering concepts they’ll use to teach math and science. A National Science Foundation grant helped create the course, which is offered in several locations on the Iowa Communications Network.Last year there were more than 170 teachers on a waiting list so this year there will be three “sections” to satisfy all the demand for the course. Sharp created the engineering course with veteran ISU physics professor Loren Zachary.
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