Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Twenty-two GCS math and science middle school teachers are spending the summer in school themselves, learning how to solve real-world problems using science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills they will later teach in the classroom.

The STEAM Expert Teacher Program, now in its second year, is funded by Bosch Rexroth Corporation in Fountain Inn and supported by the Clemson University Department of Education. This year, educators are working in teams to study the issues surrounding the demolition of the Greenville News building and the effects the proposed project will have on the downtown community.

“They are looking at the impact on the population, land remediation, traffic, environment, and other issues that will need to be considered when the building comes down,” said Dr. Danielle Herro, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Learning at Clemson University. “They will look at the impact of removing and rebuilding on the location and offer solutions to problems using their skills in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.”

The teachers recently met with field experts at the site on South Main Street. They reviewed the master design plan, discussed implications of putting a 12-story building, condominiums, a movie theater, and other facilities on the site, and discussed its environmental impact including how the angle of the sun and the street noise will affect end users.

The process allows teachers to experience the skills they want their students to learn in the classroom. They will continue the class throughout the school year, seeking information from experts in various fields such as landscape architecture, business development, and economics. 

“We want to teach teachers that they don’t have to rely solely on their community to get experts to the table,” said Dr. Cassie Quigley, Assistant Professor of Science Education for Clemson. “Some of the participants will Skype with an urban developer who has been through the same growth patterns Greenville is experiencing. People want to share their knowledge.”

The courses are offered by Clemson University. Upon completion, participating teachers will earn graduate credits and will become STEAM Expert Teachers for the district.
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