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 STEMposium Addressing Major Global Changes, How Teachers Can Bring Them Into Classrooms

​Teachers from nine San Diego County school districts and two private schools are meeting at the County Office of Education and other locations around the county for the five-day STEMposium, 2011, to discuss ways to address some of the world’s most pressing scientific and environmental challenges into their classrooms.

“As citizens of the earth, what major problems do we need to be thinking about?” County Office of Education Science Coordinator Nancy Taylor asked the STEMposium attendees. (STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Taylor then referred to a policy statement of the National Academy of Engineers, which read: “We hope to achieve a sustainable, economically robust and politically stable future for our children, and our children’s children.”

Among the many offerings of STEMposium were presentations on the highly acclaimed Google Earth classroom programs; Engineering is Elementary, Digital Literacy, and the Energy and You Energy Efficiency Curriculum. STEMposium runs from July 11-15.

Taylor identified three major environmental and social developments with significant implications for STEM teachers: overcrowding of the planet, due to population growth and greater longevity; a “flattening” of the world through the use of personal computers and the internet; and global warming.

She challenged the STEMposium attendees to think about and discuss what each of those issues meant for their work in the classroom. Taylor acknowledged both the “advocacy and negativity” associated with community discussions of global warming, but STEMPOSIUM participants quickly spoke up about the heightened environmental awareness they now see in students.

School districts represented at STEMposium included Alpine, Cajon Valley, Carlsbad, Del Mar, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lemon Grove, San Diego Unified, Santee and Solana Beach. The two private schools represented were Nativity School and the Grauer School.

Participating teachers worked grades 4-8.