When Shay Coleman goes back to school, she'll have a wonderful story to tell the fourth-grade students she teaches.
Coleman teaches math and science at Lafayette Avenue School and serves as the executive director of Global Learning, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization and worked with Fairleigh Dickinson University to host a STEM Summer Institute, a pilot program for teachers of math, science, engineering and mathematics from kindergarten through fifth grade.
"The Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) and Cornell University also supported this venture," Coleman said. "The mission of the STEM Summer Institute was to allow teachers to come together in a professional and collaborative environment to learn more about STEM share best practices and hone their lessons and design activities for their students in the classroom."
Teachers throughout the Chathams and other surrounding towns attended the Institute and heard presentations from five Master Teachers from LAS.
Coleman believes teachers and administrators must change their approach to the sciences if they intend to instill in their students a love for those subjects.
"Very often the STEM discussion starts in middle school and high school, but in order to build passion for science and math, research shows that opportunities for students need to be rich in the K-5 grades to excite them for science and math in the upper grades," Coleman said. "Studies show that by middle school, girls especially lose interest in math and/or science. Boys and girls need to develop a strong sense of the science and math with authentic, hands on projects to gain skills and enthusiasm for later years."