High school math and science teachers from all over the state are at West Virginia University this week to learn to better prepare their students for high-tech careers. The teachers will also get to interact with professional engineers from the area.
The training is part of the Engineers of Tomorrow program, which aims to recruit, retain and place the next generation of engineers, scientists and computer scientists from Appalachia. There is a high demand for graduates of these fields, but not enough students are enrolling in them in college to fill the jobs of the future. In 2005, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded WVU $1.6 million for the Engineers of Tomorrow Program.
Teacher training is taking place in the Engineering Sciences Building on the Evansdale campus all week.
Teachers will be introduced to engineering concepts and methods so that they can use them in the classroom.
The teachers will learn to use and develop their own lesson plansreferred to asTools for Integrating Math and Engineering,or TIME kitsbased on real-world engineering problems. A typical problem might include devising a solution to acid mine drainage.
The TIME kits are designed to meet state-required content standards, which is critical to the adoption of curricula into the schools.
Our goal is to help teachers understand the connections between the math and science they are teaching and the careers that are going to be out there in the years to come,said Gary Winn, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, who leads the program.
We are introducing the concepts of engineering,he said,and training them to apply these concepts. We want them to present their students with challenging, real-world problems, and help them discover how math, science and engineering principles can be put to work to solve them.
As part of the training session, several engineers from the area will attend on Wednesday afternoon (June 28) to discuss the engineering problems being addressed in the training, and to help evaluate the teachersproposed solutions. The engineers who are volunteering their time for this include Daniel Ferrell of Thrasher Engineering, Karen Krabill of Triad Engineering, Charles Luttrell of Alpha Associates, Michael McCauley of NIOSH and Donald Williams of the West Virginia Department of Highways.
Later in July, four groups of high school students will be at WVU for a week of engineering experiences. During their stay at WVU , the students will engage in hands-on engineering activities, in addition to being schooled in math, science and technology skills; ACT /SAT preparation; and study skills necessary to survive on a large college campus.
Engineers of Tomorrow is a joint program of the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, College of Human Resources and Education and the EdVenture Group, a Morgantown-based nonprofit organization.
In addition to NSF , sponsors include Arch Coal, American Electric Power, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, National Air and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Peabody Energy and PPG Industries.