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Teachers In Personal Development

Local teachers Sandi Snyder of Shickley High School and Matt Nicholas and Phyllis Severson of Exeter-Milligan High School were part of a group of nearly 170 Nebraska teachers who participated in University of Nebraska-Lincoln professional development aimed at improving K-12 math and science instruction, which was led by 50 of the state’s teacher leaders this summer.
Three workshops, dedicated to elementary-integrated STEM, secondary mathematics and secondary Earth and space science, wrapped up their concurrent summer sessions on June 16 in Crete, Fremont, Grand Island, Norfolk, North Platte and Ogallala.
Known as Nebraska Partnership TEAMS (Teaching to Enhance Achievement in Mathematics and Science) this $1 million grant from the Nebraska Department of Education represents a collaboration between high-need schools and university faculty from the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education; the Department of Mathematics; the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. TEAMS participants will meet four more times during the 2017-18 academic year for follow-up sessions.
“Never have I felt more prepared to answer, "When will we be able to use this?’ by my students,” said math teacher Matt Chrisman of Mitchell Secondary School. “This experience has allowed me to network with wonderful colleagues from around the state. The practical activities and field trips really have given us some engaging ideas to incorporate into our classrooms.”
Between June 5 and 16, teachers attended class and went on field trips with their regional groups. Field trips included visits to Ashfall Fossil Beds, Gavin’s Point Dam, Hudl offices in Lincoln, Kawasaki, Kingsley Dam, the Niobrara and Platte Rivers, Rowe Sanctuary and the Valley Weather Station.
“The field trips that we took to Hudl, Olsson Associates and Kawasaki provided me with examples that I can share with my students of unique jobs that use various levels of math,” said Drew Rische of Crete High School. “Each of these businesses are not only looking for people with strong mathematical backgrounds, but more importantly, they are wanting to hire learners who are creative problem solvers and communicators.”
The TEAMS workshops expose elementary, math and science teachers to the intersections of mathematics and science through problems whose mathematics can be explored effectively with technology and represent major scientific concepts as well as how mathematics and science is utilized in business and industry. The courses also refine the teachers’ ability to provide their students with experience with the process standards found in the Nebraska State Standards for mathematics and for science.
For more information on TEAMS and its faculty collaborators through the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, visit http://scimath.unl.edu/csmce/teams.