Central Indiana teachers return to IUPUI for Project Lead the Way training
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana high school biology teachers become students next week when they enter the classrooms in the School of Science at IUPUI, the regional site of core teacher training for the nation’s most successful STEM education program, Project Lead the Way.
More than 100 science teachers will live and learn on the IUPUI campus during two training sessions June 16 to 28 and July 7 to 19. The program offers high school science teachers the opportunity to discover new techniques and classroom methods related to biomedical innovations, human body systems and medical interventions.
“Following a few days in the classroom, the teachers will set out to perform experiments to learn more about DNA analysis, genetic solutions to cancer, nanotechnology, robotics and other advancements in medicine. This is hands-on knowledge they take back to their classrooms,” said Jeff Watt, associate dean at the School of Science and IUPUI’s director for Project Lead the Way.
Middle and high school students who participate in Project Lead the Way curriculum have better test and retention rates and learn critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Since 1997, the nonprofit has served more than 400,000 students and more than 10,000 teachers in all 50 states. The program is designed to enhance interest in STEM fields among students and teachers while also addressing the country’s growing need to increase academic performance in these areas. Students who complete the courses in high school go on to pursue STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — at nearly 10 times the average rate.
Project Lead the Way offers rigorous and innovative training for teachers and students across the country in three primary areas: Gateway to Technology, Pathway to Engineering and the Biomedical Sciences Program, the focus of the local session.
“No other program fosters the curiosity and rewards enthusiasm to learn more than PLTW,” said Bev Ransdell, who retired as a science teacher at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis after more than 20 years. She now coordinates the local Project Lead the Way affiliate serving Central Indiana high schools.
Ransdell said the experience helps foster a support network for teachers as they seek ways to continue to implement new and exciting challenges into their science classrooms.
The national headquarters of Project Lead the Way recently relocated to Indianapolis, a beneficial move for the booming life and health sciences industries in Indiana.
Photographs from the Project Lead the Way workshop in 2012 can be found on the School of Science Facebook page.