It was with apprehension that Kelly Abraham sat down in July for her first day of STEMpact’s two-week STEM Teacher Quality (STEM TQ) Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. Of the 150 K-8 teachers taking part, she was the only fine arts teacher, and not really sure how much of it would be applicable. But that unease quickly melted away.
“The first two sessions we did included fine arts, and as the day went on more and more of what we were doing touched on fine arts,” said Abraham, a K-5 music teacher at Fairmount Elementary in the Francis Howell School District. In fact, the Institute opened her eyes to the realization that she has been STEMitizing her curriculum all along, but just didn’t realize it.
“Technically, I have been a STEM teacher for 28 years, but I wasn’t pushing it to the next level. We were talking about STEM but not using the proper words.”
Now, when she talks about rhythm she relates it to math. Or when talking about musical instruments and the different sounds they make, she equates it to engineering and science when imaging how your ears work.
In September, the ISP visited with Abraham to see how she was incorporating her STEM TQ experience into her music classes. On the day we visited, Abraham’s third-grade class was creatively writing eight beat rhythm samples using quarter notes, eighth notes sixteenth notes and quarter rest. They looked at the actual names of the notes and how they were related to fractions and how the beats subdivide.
STEMpact’s STEM TQ is a program managed by Washington University’s Institute for School Partnership. The year-long program teaches K-8 educators how to integrate STEM into all subjects and to connect STEM curriculum to the real world, student interests and future careers.
November 2018 | by, Myra Lopez