Lehman Offers Four New STEM Courses for Science Teachers This Summer

Lehman Offers Four New STEM Courses for Science Teachers This Summer

The Lehman College Summer 2017 STEM Teacher Network is offering an array of classes for metropolitan area secondary school science teachers who want to enhance their professional development. The program is collaboration between the School of Education and The School of Natural and Social Sciences.

The four classes—Urban Ecology; Astronomy; Designing and Teaching a Flipped Chemistry Course; and Blended Learning with Earth Inside and Out—will each present science professionals with unique opportunities to learn from some of Lehman’s most accomplished professors and its talented network of alumni.

“We are taking responsibility for positively impacting the lives of science teachers, using what Lehman has to offer in a very different way,” said Professor Wesley Pitts, the program coordinator and deputy chair in The School of Education, Department of Middle School and High School Education. “We’ve retooled and reimagined what science courses might look like.”

The program is pairing Lehman professors with science teachers (who are Lehman alumni) in order to bring “two complementary perspectives and expertise,” according to Pitts.

An example is the collaboration between Jack Henning, an adjunct professor of biology at the College, and Eleanor Williamson, a Lehman alumna who teaches science at The Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in Manhattan. Together they will teach Urban Ecology with the goal of helping science teachers “present ecology in a more meaningful and relatable manner” to their students.

The New York Daily News profiled Henning’s work in urban ecology in 2012 and Williams received her M.S.Ed in science in education from Lehman in 2009. “They’ve really come together to think about ways they can engage some culturally relevant pedagogy,” said Pitts, “within the context of the Bronx and the ecology of the Bronx, to teach students in The Bronx.” The class begins on July 6.

Joining forces to teach Astronomy are Lehman Professor Matthew O’Dowd, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and alumnus Lui Yi, a science teacher at The International School for Liberal Arts in the Bronx. Yi received an M.S.Ed in Lehman’s Secondary Science Education Program in 2013. O’Dowd is the host of Space Time, a popular PBS Digital series that explores astronomy and astrophysics.

The course will cover “the historical development of astronomy, scales of the universe, the night sky, the seasons, the moon and the planets of the solar system, Earth as an astronomical body, the Sun, and life in the universe,” according to the course description. In addition, the class will introduce virtual reality with “Google Expeditions” as a new resource for teachers seeking more exciting ways to engage their students. The class starts on August 29 and extends into the fall.

Pitts says astronomy is one of the most popular sciences taught in the middle school curriculum and a significant part of the earth science curriculum in high school. Blank, an earth science teacher will teach the lab portion of the class, helping students learn more compelling ways to teach earth science labs.

Other classes include “Designing and Teaching a Flipped Chemistry Course” (taught by Professor Pamela Mills, chair of the chemistry department); and “Earth Inside and Out” which is being taught by Professor Yuri Gorokhovic, chair of the earth, environmental and geospatial science department in partnership with The American Museum of Natural History.

“We want to continue to raise the profile of Lehman College as the place to be for science education for science education professional development,” said Pitts.