A grant from the Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development Council is helping Troy University equip future teachers with creative means of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the classroom.
Homer Wright, a Wiregrass RC&D board member and Pike County Commissioner; Ronald Davis, executive director; and Anna Morehead, programs manager, joined Rep. Wes Allen in visiting the Troy Campus on Feb. 14 for the presentation of a $2,000 check. Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., TROY’s chancellor, Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, dean of the University’s College of Education and Jessica L. Moran, College of Education faculty member, accepted the check. The funds supported the purchase of Project Learning Tree curriculum materials for TROY pre-service teachers and a NASA STEM Day, featuring astronaut John Weiss, hosted in the fall for second- and third-grade students from Banks Primary School and Pike County Elementary School.
The presentation took place as TROY education students were receiving training in the Project Learning Tree curriculum from Ashley Smith, director of education programs for the Alabama Forestry Association.
“Project Learning Tree is a Pre-K to 8th grade environmental science curriculum,” said Jessica L. Moran, faculty member TROY’s College of Education. “The resource book and training benefits our students by providing a hands-on, minds-on approach to teaching and learning. The curriculum is an integrative approach to teaching across content areas.”
Smith modeled the Project Learning Tree lesson, “Tree Cookies,” which helps to teach students about the life, age and death of trees.
“Our students were grouped by grade level during the training,” Moran said. “Each group planned and presented one of the lessons to the class and they did an amazing job. The real world application was evident.”
Moran said the training and projects help prepare future teachers to bring innovation into the classroom when teaching the STEM disciplines.
“These projects are to provide best practices for our pre-service students,” Moran said. “We want to expose them to innovative ways to facilitate engaging lessons to students in the classroom. We also want to continue to provide service opportunities to students in the K-12 classrooms in our area.