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STEAM Initiatives Hosts Educators Professional Development for the 2019 Young Engineers Program

January 3, 2019

On Thursday, January 3rd, at DDC STEAM hosted a Professional Development workshop in the Training Room for 17-public middle school teachers and DYCD teaching artist from schools participating in the Young Engineers Program (YEP). The educators represented YEP sites from all five boroughs, including the Albert Einstein Jr High School, Amistad Dual Language School, Fort Greene Preparatory Academy, Manhattan East School for Arts & Academy, Francis J. Murphy School, Park Place Community Middle School, and the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School.
The educators were introduced to the Best of DDC STEAM hands-on engineering-and architecture related activities. The primary purpose DDC’s STEAM Professional Development is to provide educators with an enhance understanding of Engineering, Architecture and built environment concepts.
“Research consistently shows that rigorous teacher instruction critically impacts student achievement. By teaching the teachers we can greatly increase the number of young people we can engage with our STEAM programming, introducing them to career opportunities they may not have imagined for themselves before. Our goal with DDC STEAM professional development is to bring math and science concepts to life and to bring engineering and problem solving to NYC students. In our Train the Trainer sessions, we give educators the opportunity to explore the concepts and methodologies in a fun environment so they are confident implementing the program at their schools”. said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.
The participating educators experienced project based learning (PBL) activities in the YEP curriculum which will be rolled out at their schools. Educators completed a column activity that challenged them to analyze and explore the strength of various column shapes. They also completed an urban planning activity that included analyzing a map of the five boroughs for energy, transportation, and green infrastructure, paying attention to communities across the city that lack in critical amenities like parks, sporting facilities, transportation, and infrastructure. The last challenge was a green roof activity, that had the teachers building a functional miniature model green roof that was able to retain water and limit runoff in to the local water bodies.
DDC’s “Building the Future” curriculum emphasizes the structural characteristics of 3D shapes, bridge engineering, constructing with I-beams, creating building models and green technologies such as bio swales, tower gardens and green roofs. It is currently being implemented as part of the Young Engineers Program, a program designed to teach middle school students the fundamentals of environmentally responsible city planning as it pertains to public buildings and infrastructure.  As part of the training, teachers performed many of the activities that students in the program go through, including modeling buildings, infrastructure, bridges, bio swales, public areas, and streetscapes to demonstrate design and construction methods.
DDC STEAM has engaged over 2,800 students in various programs since its inception in 2015, working exclusively with Title I schools.