The non-profit group Project Lead the Way is working to strengthen the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum of the CNMI especially in public schools. PLTW master teacher Jeff Ostrom is on Saipan training San Antonio Middle School teachers.
The CNMI became the second island chain, next to Hawaii, and the first U.S. territory that was visited by a PLTW representative. PLTW is a non-profit group whose idea is to promote and develop STEM to all elementary and middle and high schools.
Ostrom said he was supposed to arrive in early August last year but he did not push through with his trip after Typhoon Soudelor struck Saipan. He has been training SAMS’ teachers, instructors, and other teaching staff since last week.
“I’m trained to teach all teaching staff in the sixth to eighth grades about STEM. We started here at San Antonio Middle School with the hopes of going to other schools in the future. The program is geared toward elementary and high school students,” said Ostrom.
He added that the program that he teaches, which is a gateway to appreciating and learning more about STEM, are all activity based that would help teachers guide their students in the said curriculum.
“One of the activities that I taught them is a platform in robotics. It is about gear ratios, transfer of energy, and design, and modeling. It is an introduction to solve the engineering design process,” said Ostrom, who is expected to finish his two-week training for SAMS’ 13 teachers this Friday.
“I’m also going to introduce them to automation and robotics. Understanding the engineering and the mechanical side of robotics. Next will be structural programming in computers,” added Ostrom.
He said that he would possibly return next year or PLTW would send another instructor for summer training. PLTW is involved in thousands of schools and millions of students for its STEM program.
Ostrom has an 18-year teaching experience particularly in mathematics and STEM education and holds an undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in elementary mathematics. “There’s a correlation between math and science. We need to make it more meaningful and engaging to the students.
What is automation? (vex building, understanding robots, engineering careers, and what do we use robots for?); mechanical systems (observing mechanisms, mechanical gears, windmill construction, pull toy construction, and survival challenge); automated systems (beef up your tech resources, robot behaviors and writing pseudocodes, using robots, automation through programming, and simulated factory assembly line) are part of Ostrom’s teaching program.
PLTW was founded in 1997 starting in New York State. The non-profit group, now based in Indianapolis in Indiana, provides STEM programs to K to 12 public and private school students.