Over 500 elementary school, middle school and high school teachers from throughout the United States are spending part of their summer at Missouri University of Science and Technology and three other Missouri communities to learn how to teach engineering, computer science and biomedical science courses to their students this fall.
The teachers are involved in Project Lead The Way, a national effort to get more youth interested in and prepared to study engineering and science related fields in college. Missouri S&T is the state affiliate for Project Lead The Way and offers PLTW teacher training in engineering, computer science and biomedical science.
“The teachers go through a very intensive training program,” says Ben Yates, program director for Missouri S&T’s PLTW effort. “For many of them, it’s like having a full semester of professional development in only two weeks.”
Teachers from throughout the United States are signed up to take part in one or more of the one- and two-week courses. “They’re learning how to incorporate a project- and problem-based teaching approach into their PLTW courses,” says Yates.
This summer, S&T is offering 18 two-week PLTW courses, 13 one-week courses and eight three-day courses. The training is focused on classroom instruction, hands-on projects and team activities.
The courses begin in early June and continue through July 24. The majority of the courses will be held on the Missouri S&T campus, but those for elementary school teachers will be offered in Blue Springs, Missouri; Columbia, Missouri; and St. Louis.
PLTW is a national, non-profit organization that provides engineering and science instructional programs for use in elementary, middle, junior high and high school. Missouri S&T coordinates PLTW programs with over 350 elementary and secondary education schools throughout the state. There will be approximately 490 programs in the state beginning next fall.
Established in 1997 in 12 high schools in upstate New York, PLTW has grown to a network of more than 6,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 10,500 teachers have been trained in PLTW methods, and more than 600,000 students are enrolled in PLTW courses.
Missouri S&T is one of approximately 55 colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer PLTW training. For more information about PLTW, visit pltw.org.