Bartlesville-Area Teachers Receive STEM Training through Phillips 66 Grant

Jim Gilbert leads Bartlesville-area elementary teachers through STEM training in classroom.

Jim Gilbert leads Bartlesville-area elementary teachers through STEM training this fall.

A grant from Phillps66 this fall provided Bartlesville area teachers with lessons and resources to provide more hands-on teaching for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training.

Rogers State University Bartlesville hosted the two-part workshop that coordinated by Dr. Jamie Graham, head of RSU’s Department of Physical Sciences, with instruction provided by Jim Gilbert, professor at Rose State College’s Engineering and Science Division. The RSU Foundation provided logistical support for the event.

About 25 elementary and middle school teachers from Bartlesville and Dewey participated in a three-day workshop during August that provided the teachers with low-cost solutions to demonstrate sophisticated science principles in their classrooms. The workshop was also designed to help improve the teachers’ comfort level with STEM lessons, which is especially important for teachers who teach self-contained classrooms.

Each teacher was given a classroom demonstration set for many of the activities from the workshop or provided pathways to access more expensive equipment to replicate the activities later.

“We tailored the workshops to cover topics that are tied to the Oklahoma State Standards in physics, earth sciences and mathematics,” Graham said. “The curriculum was built so they could take back these interactive, activity-based lessons to their classrooms and implement them in a cost-effective manner.”

In October and November, the second part of the workshop took place when the teachers returned to the RSU Bartlesville campus to present one of the STEM lessons at the teacher workshop. The instructors then provided feedback about what went right or wrong with the lesson so that the teachers would be able to improve their STEM literacy.

A few of the teachers admitted they did not have strong science backgrounds coming out of college, and were thankful the workshop helped break down the lessons in a way that made it easier to hands-on learning for students.

“This has been a great workshop because it has helped give me the tools and resources to help my classroom children learn more about science,” said Morgan Pomfret, a third-grade teacher at Hoover Elementary School in Bartlesville.

Kelli Bryant, also a third-grade teacher at Hoover, said she appreciated the hands-on nature of the lessons.

“They’ve given us a lot of great strategies and lessons about how we can incorporate these ideas across grade levels and across our curriculum,” she said. “It’s helped a lot of teachers become more comfortable with science principles and applying them in the classroom.”

Dr. Graham, the workshop organizer, said demand for the inaugural RSU workshop outstripped the capacity for their first set of workshops, and they are looking at holding additional workshops in the future. For more information about the STEM education workshops, contact the RSU Department of Physical Sciences at 918-343-6886.