Educators learn STEM teaching techniques at Washburn

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Educators from across the state traveled to Washburn University on Monday to see how they can prepare kids for the future.

17-year-old Marissa Wagner wants to go to school to become a science teacher after she graduates from Topeka West High School. Monday she spent time with educators learning how to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into everyday learning.

Activities across campus showed educators that you can incorporate STEM into English and arts classes.

“You can be preschool age and still learn about science,” said Wagner.

Across town, lawmakers in the Kansas Statehouse voted to put together a council to tackle school funding. The Kansas Supreme Court gave them until April 30 to have a new school funding model in place.

With funding so unstable at the state level, some educators say it’s up to individual school districts to make STEM a priority.

“We’ve been working with our hands tied for a while and we’ve been making things happen. If a school or a district has a vision, they find a priority that we can make things work even with the legislature that’s in place,” said Dasan McDonald, a math teacher at Washburn Rural Middle School.

For many school districts it means looking to other forms of funding. Brady Dean is the principal at Beloit Elementary School. He said the school district had to get creative in order to advance their STEM program.

“We have a robotics program that we offer and so we wrote a grant and they purchased the robotics for us. We have a great board of education and superintendent that is behind our technology offerings and our STEM course so they devote money to it,” said Dean.

 

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