With the school year right around the corner, the Trinect staff and triad teams have been hard at work preparing for the next big adventure, the beginning of Trinect in Des Moines classrooms. This preparation came in the form of a one-week, all hands on deck workshop on Iowa State’s campus beginning August 3 with the arrival of Engineering Fellows and concluding on August 7 with all team members present for the final two days.

The Trinect Summer Institute, led by program leader Joanne Olson with team members Kristina Tank and Anne Estapa, focused on preparing the triads to work in a co-teaching setting, to teach developmentally appropriate science. Mathematics, and engineering concepts, and to foster the development of conceptual understanding.  This preparation was particularly important to Fellows from the College of Engineering as they share their expertise with third, fourth, and fifth graders.

“Teaching concepts that are at an appropriate skill level is instrumental in these concepts being learned by the student. We often wonder why ‘the kids don’t get it’ when we are teaching familiar content but using language beyond the comprehension of the students,” commented Estapa, an assistant professor in Iowa State’s School of Education.

While Trinect is a program that focuses on exposing children to engineering early on, math and science are subjects that go hand in hand with that goal. The teams of cooperating teacher, student teacher, and Fellow were made aware of the differences between the three subjects and why the distinction is very important.  The workshop also focused on the promotion of other important science and mathematics skills like creativity, problem solving, and collaboration.

With these important lessons in mind, the teams then concentrated on goals for the school year and a long term action plan that encompasses enhancing the teaching of science, math, and engineering and determining individual roles in the school, classroom, and triad.

Teams will reconvene in late August to conclude final preparations before the onset of the Des Moines Public school year on August 26th.