Navy’s STEM Program Sparks Growth in Education Techniques

STEM Workshop at NSGL 1

Navy’s STEM Workshop at Naval Station Great Lakes, March 15, 2017

By Erik Wright, National Museum of the American Sailor Education Specialist

Within the education world, standards are constantly changing, material and curriculums are always being updated, and we’re learning more and more about our physical and natural world on an almost daily basis.  But with the increasingly busy schedules of teachers, rapidly growing class sizes, and ever shrinking budgets, how and when are educators supposed to find the time and resources to stay relevant and up-to-date on educational standards and training?  This is a question the Department of the Navy (DoN), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the education department of the National Museum of the American Sailor grapple with in an effort to ensure that our nations educators have the necessary tools and training to produce the highest caliber students possible (students who might become future sailors and leaders). Continue reading

From the Education Desk

The Association of Midwest Museums conference in Cincinnati has left me wondering, how does a military history museum position itself within the community’s educational arena, particularly when its educational focus is centered on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education?

????????????????????????????????????The answer that keeps coming back to me is, we are in a unique position to export the historical significance of the United States Navy, and demonstrate how STEM concepts play a key role in the that history (indeed, all histories). Clearly Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math factor greatly into the history of the Navy. And, by providing fun and engaging ways of bringing this to the public, we insert ourselves into the local educational arena by reinforcing what is already being offered in the public schools.

We must be creative, original, and fun. How else do you attract students to science classes on a Saturday? But we aren’t an alternative to the public education system. Rather, we try to work in coordination with them and, in doing so, underscore the importance of both types of programming.

While at the conference, I had the opportunity to speak with many museum professionals who had already asked this question to themselves. The feedback was enlightening and encouraging. The most popular response was to coordinate the museum’s efforts with those of a school within the community.  The first step is finding a science or math teacher who is willing to incorporate supplemental programming into their curriculum. At first, this will be on a small scale, perhaps only working with a single class. But as the relationships grow, so might the partnership.

8-10 blog pic 2To this end, the museum’s educational department will be reaching out to science teachers in the community in an effort to engage a willing collaborator. Once found, we will be working with that educator and his/her school to determine how to best serve the students while maintaining the integrity of the participating school’s curriculum. Since we are a more flexible entity, it’s important to for us to support the existing programming rather than try to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

So, check back with us over the next few weeks to see who we are partnering with, in what direction this partnership is headed, and how we are going to execute our plans. We look forward to sharing the results with you and, of course, if you have any suggestions for us, please leave them in the comments section below.

For more information about the museum’s education program go to our website.