The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of five gyres accumulating plastic and other trash in the ocean. It currently holds more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic! The plastic floating in the ocean breaks down into microscopic pieces that infiltrate our food webs and negatively affect the ocean ecosystem. Researchers, scientists, and engineers are attacking various parts of the plastics system in an attempt to ameliorate the range of problems associated with our excessive waste. Recently 25 5th grade teachers came together to investigate this problem as part of the Engineering Fellows Program. Fellows engaged in a series of lessons to investigate and define the system, design and test solutions, and optimize their prototypes. Fellows are now implementing the series of lessons with 1,142 5th grade students in classrooms across Nevada.
The Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology has partnered with Northwest Regional Professional Development Program, Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program, University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas to develop the Engineering Fellows Program. The program was developed in increase educator efficacy and engage more students in STEM education across the state of Nevada.
Over the course of the 2018 – 2019 school year, the Fellows will be coached through high-quality engineering lesson development and implementation. Fellows have the opportunity through the program to collaborate with stakeholders at various junctures along the STEM learning pathway, including professional engineers and university engineering students. The participants will have the opportunity to build connections, develop relationships, and strengthen the learning pathway with common experiences. Upon completion of the program, Fellows will receive materials kits for five engineering lessons developed through the program, as well as in-service credit for license renewal.
For more information about the program, visit http://osit.nv.gov/STEM/Engineering_Fellows_Program/ or follow @SciNVtech on twitter.