University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Spring 2012
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UNL Durham School professor helms Project Lead the Way Nebraska, building STEM learning structure

One pipeline most Nebraskans agree about is putting more STEM learning in the state’s K-12 schools.

Stu Bernstein, professor with UNL’s Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, serves as Nebraska’s affiliate director for Project Lead the Way. PLTW is working nationwide to increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.

Bernstein connects with stakeholders throughout Nebraska: teachers and administrators from K-12 schools and higher education–including community colleges—as well as government leaders and industry representatives. This spring, PLTW Nebraska gathered educators for a conference in Kearney with Ken Maguire, PLTW’s director for the Upper Midwest Region.

Sessions at the event included distance learning methods, collaboration opportunities and discussion of teacher training in PLTW certification, as well as presentations by students benefiting from enhanced coursework at their PLTW partner schools. Bernstein said the gathering brought more Nebraska schools into the process for offering PLTW curriculum. Again this summer, PLTW hosts training institutes at UNL for teachers to lead classes in their schools.

At the March conference, Kearney Public Schools showed off project work from PLTW units, and student presenter Derek Zimmerman noted “the most rewarding part about PLTW classes is knowing how to create something in real life.” It was a comment that resonated with the educators, further motivating their work to extend STEM learning more widely across Nebraska.

From left to right are students Robbie Pothoff and Spencer Shield, PLTW regional director Ken Maguire, student Derek Zimmerman and PLTW Nebraska affiliate director Stu Bernstein.




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