WADE Institute Hosts Teachers at “Jawsome” Seminar

By Deborah Drew

You’ve heard the saying “You’re going to need a bigger boat” mumbled by Police Chief Brody in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie, Jaws?  Under the Summer STEM Professional Development Institutes for educators’ program at the WADE Institute for Science Education (formerly MITS, the Museum Institute for Teaching Science), more than 20 teachers set sail for a full day of shark study.  On purpose!

Fortunately, they did not need a bigger boat for the training that included part ocean adventure off the shore of Cape Cod exploring tracking equipment, observing seals and searching for sharks, and part classroom study that covered technology and shark dissection at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in Chatham, MA. 

While a great white did not make a cameo appearance that day, the participating teachers were focused on the continuing science education course that will help them develop the skills they need to actively engage their students in science and engineering practices and concepts.

The National Grid Foundation has supported this program for two years, and it’s no fish story that approximately 200 educators have returned to their K-12 classrooms and inspired new generations of scientists. 

According to the Institute — which was founded in 1986 and is based in Quincy, MA — its weeklong sessions focus on both science content and teaching skills, making them a unique form of professional development.  This model is well received by teachers since not only are they improving their content knowledge, but they are also gaining the skills to effectively bring this knowledge into their classrooms and engage their students. This summer and early fall, the WADE Institute will offer four weeklong Institutes and will enroll up to 25 teaches in each one. The Institutes are held throughout Massachusetts at various partner institutions (museums, science centers and other technology or cultural organizations).

Kevin Buckley, an 8th Grade Science teacher, Diamond Middle School, Lexington, MA

By providing teachers with the knowledge, skills and resources to provide effective STEM instruction, Wade Institute programs increase student interest and achievement in science, technology and engineering. The teachers served by the program will develop new skills, update their scientific knowledge and learn about educational resources in their own communities. Additionally, they experience data collection in a field setting and apply that knowledge to current theories; develop and implement an inquiry-based curriculum with their students; develop their own curricula/unit outline and three investigations; and learn about and local field trip and classroom resources available from museums, nature centers, STEM professionals, science and technology centers, engineering firms and other organizations. 

“Teaching the teachers and providing them with tools they need to ultimately increase the number of students seeking STEM related education or technical training and entering STEM careers is a perfect end result for the Foundation,” said Ed White, Executive Director for the National Grid Foundation. “The WADE Institute is in lock step with our mission, creating solutions to today’s educational and environmental challenges and positively impacting and improving the lives of many.”

About National Grid Foundation:

National Grid Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life, economic strength and environmental stewardship in National Grid’s service territory. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for solutions to today’s educational and environmental challenges. By awarding grants to non-profits, the Foundation inspires and serves as a catalyst to a shared future, ultimately impacting and improving lives of the underserved in our neighborhoods.

In December 1998, KeySpan Energy formed KeySpan Foundation to enhance community giving efforts. Now known as National Grid Foundation, the organization has provided more than $25 million in grants to approximately 1,000 organizations in local communities.

To find out more about the National Grid Foundation visit: www.nationalgridfoundation.com

To view the latest issue of Destiny: Destiny Q3 2019

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