SALISBURY, N.C.—Twenty teachers in the Cabbarus County-Kannapolis City School systems filed in to accept their next assignment. A Sun-E-Zoon kit is waiting on them.
The teachers are preparing to build a solar car.
"It will give them some real practical hands-on things they can take into the classroom,” Rob Knuschke, Director of Secondary Education, said. “Grab the kids’ attention. Keep them engaged and give the kids an idea of what they want to do once they leave high school."
Teachers built the cars, kept a budget, and then headed outside to test their projects. For some, it was smooth sailing. Others were left at a standstill.
"If they don't work, then they have the cost of reworking and see if it works,” Robin Turner, program chair of Accounting and Economics at Rowan County Community College, said.
This STEM immersion event didn’t stop with the cars.
These employees teach courses, such as English or accounting—not science or math. And that’s the point. They’re being introduced to this active learning style to figure out how STEM relates to their courses.
"Taking a problem and saying oh well it didn't work,” Margaret Gladin, an English teacher at J.M. Freeze Magnet School, said. “So what do I need to take back into the classroom and how can I rework it. It's a constant reworking of the process."
"It's really helping us as teachers to modify our programs and say OK what are the fundamental pieces that we need to teach our kids and have those building blocks and that background so that they can go in and not be completely lost when they go into these college courses,” Gladin said.
It’s also done so there are fewer roadblocks when students venture out to find work after college.