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Raytheon Gift Launches Arizona's First Engineering is Elementary Teacher Training Hub

July 15, 2012

Launched by Raytheon and the Museum of Science, Boston, the Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) hub site at Arizona Science Center (ASC) in Phoenix plans five professional development (PD) workshops for elementary teachers this year. Raytheon is funding two workshops in Tucson, while a direct gift from Intel to Arizona Science Center enables three in Phoenix.

As part of a $1 million donation from Raytheon, the Arizona hub is one of EiE's first formal teacher training sites beyond Mass., joining a growing list of institutions nationwide offering EiE PD. Engineering is Elementary is a project of the Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®). With Raytheon's commitment, the Museum will continue to expand EiE's reach by establishing PD hubs in Washington, D.C., and Huntsville, Ala., eventually creating thousands of elementary engineering teachers nationwide.

"One of the prime advantages of the EiE program is its ability to enable teachers to become students themselves. After experiencing the impact of hands-on learning from the student's perspective, teachers deliver not only the breadth of their instructional techniques, but they are also able to tap into their individual reservoir of curiosity," said Pam Erickson, vice president, community relations, Raytheon. "Exciting teachers about STEM education yields inspired students."

Says EiE director of partnership Sharlene Yang, "We are thrilled that Raytheon's generous gift enables us to build the local infrastructure for tools and workshops to educate teachers who can train other teachers. We are also pleased by the support of Intel, one of EiE's earliest supporters. The commitment of these leading technology companies to the preparation of teachers excited to introduce engineering activities to students is invaluable."

Since elementary schools often lack compelling activities and materials for students in the "T" and the "E" of STEM, Engineering is Elementary is designed to close that gap. EiE is a research-based, standards-driven, classroom-tested 20-unit curriculum that integrates engineering and technology with science, language arts, social studies, and math. Each unit includes a storybook with a child from a different country who uses the engineering design process to solve a problem. The curriculum has reached over 37,800 teachers and 2.7 million U.S. students in 50 states.

With a soaring demand for EiE PD workshops, the Museum is building a network of teacher-educators, based on a train-the-trainer model. The first Teacher Educator Institute at ASC in February 2012 introduced EiE to 19 educators, including those from districts hosting the Tucson workshops. Excited to introduce engineering in their own schools, these districts will invite educators from area schools to the workshops to help disseminate EiE.

"With Arizona as a lead state in developing the next generation of science standards, this program comes at an ideal time," said Lacey Wieser from the Arizona Department of Education. "The new standards, which will include both science and engineering practices, will lay a strong foundation for children to understand how the world works."

Raytheon's support, part of its MathMoves® initiative, will also create 300 PD providers certified to educate teachers in EiE. Raytheon has also donated $1 million to fund EiE teacher scholarships over five years.

Related Links

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   information@mos.org