The story was published July 17, 2014, on the website of St. Louis Public Radio. Articles and photos by Tim Lloyd. Click here to see original article.
Even though Barbra Pener teaches science and robotics, she likes to start the school year with a quick history lesson.
She points to a picture of the famous late 19th and early 20th-century scientist Marie Skłodowska-Curie that hangs on her classroom wall.
“Her husband Pierre is in the photo, and she’s holding the baby,” Pener said.
She then rattles off for her eighth-grade students Skłodowska-Curie’s list of accomplishments, including multiple Nobel Prizes and the discovery of two radioactive elements.
Pener doesn’t indicate who in the photo is responsible for the lofty achievements. She then asks her eighth-grade students at Nipher Middle School in Kirkwood to pick which person she’s talking about.
“And a majority of the kids, unless they had prior knowledge, pointed to her husband,” Pener said.
This is the kind of stereotype Pener wants to break down. And to pick up some extra training she joined more than 100 kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers from across Missouri and Illinois who will spend the next two weeks learning how they can better weave science and math education into their lesson plans.
The science, technology, engineering and mathematics Teacher Quality Initiative (STEM TQ) is entering its third year and has steadily attracted more and more teachers. This year, 106 teachers from Affton, East St. Louis, Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Pattonville, University City, and Kirkwood will get hands on training and take field trips to local companies to lean how they can better “STEM-itize” their lesson plans. The YMCA of St. Louis is also participating as an informal provider.
To read the article in its entirety visit the St. Louis Public Radio website.