New cross-curricular projects in the works with school in session

By Lee Roberts NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2013) – Metro Nashville Public Schools are already in session and new cross-curricular projects are in the works for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics career pathways.

Big Picture High School Teachers Wayne Birch and Lakeshia Wright tour Old Hickory Dam Hydropower Plant in Hendersonville, Tenn., June 12, 2013.  They recently submitted a cross-curricular project based on the visit to the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, which has been approved for use and shared with other schools. (Photo by Lee Roberts)
Big Picture High School Teachers Wayne Birch and Lakeshia Wright tour Old Hickory Dam Hydropower Plant in Hendersonville, Tenn., June 12, 2013. They recently submitted a cross-curricular project based on the visit to the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, which has been approved for use and shared with other schools. (Photo by Lee Roberts)

A Lead230.com report in late July detailed the experience of eight STEM educators from Cane Ridge High School, Big Picture High School and Stratford STEM Magnet High School that participated in externships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District during the month of June.

The teachers then returned to their respective schools charged to develop project-based learning curriculum.  As they are finalized they are submitted to the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub for approval and possible use by other schools across the state.

Dr. Vicki Metzgar, the hub’s director, reported this week that one project stemming from the Corps externships has been submitted and approved for the classroom thus far.

Teachers Lakeshia Wright and Wayne Birch of Big Picture High School submitted a cross-curricular project titled “Help! Is the Lake Drowning?” that requires students to study the feasibility of developing an untouched portion of shoreline at a local Nashville District lake.

“I have only given final approval to Birch and Wright’s project,” Metzgar said.  “The others are still being edited and will be posted as soon as all corrections and edits are completed.” The approved project is being shared with all schools in the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub.

Metzgar said when curriculum like this is developed it improves learning and enhances the entire classroom experience.  “It continues to be about engaging students in real-world experiences that will get them excited and help them see STEM as a potential career for themselves,” Metzgar said.

Metzgar said externships with organizations like the Corps provide excellent experiences for teachers, and she hopes more teachers in Middle Tennessee take advantage of these opportunities next summer.

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