May 1, 2014

Teacher tapped for fellowship

Math instructor headed to national physics lab

by Sarah Einselen News editor

---- — A Logansport man teaching math at Maconaquah Middle School is the recipient of a fellowship sending him to Tennessee to study science hands-on at a national physics lab.

Cory Howard, who teaches middle school math and a section of Algebra 1 at Maconaquah, is scheduled to begin the two-week Siemens Teachers as Researchers fellowship July 20 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., near Knoxville on the eastern side of the state.

He’s the second teacher in the area to be selected for the fellowship, which admits 20 middle- and high-school teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to each of its two summer sessions, one in June and one in July.

The fellowship’s purpose is basically to “bring what’s happening in the science world to the classroom,” Howard said.

Run by the Siemens Foundation, the fellowship introduces teachers to current scientific research and findings and helps them integrate it into their classroom teaching.

Howard will be assigned to conduct research in some section of science that hasn’t yet been assigned, he said, but will take place hands-on in a lab. He and the rest of the teachers will also visit science museums, like aquariums or planetariums, and participate in other learning opportunities.

That’s to introduce teachers to the resources available to them, he said, and help them figure out how to use them in class.

While the fellowship’s focus will be more on science than math, he suspects it’ll be invaluable once he returns to the classroom on Maconaquah’s second day of the 2014-2015 school year.

The school is working in conjunction with Purdue University to become an integrated STEM school, he explained, so he’s pursuing ways to support students’ science lessons when he’s teaching math.

“There’s a lot of the physics and engineering aspects of it that are very applicable,” Howard said. “My goal is to learn about those aspects and use those, but also to complement the science classroom as well.”

Maconaquah received a three-year, $478,000 grant to integrate science, technology, engineering and math education across all disciplines, according to Principal Craig Jernagan.

The grant supports teacher professional development, Jernagan said. Integrated curriculum is expected to be used starting this fall, as most of it was built this year.

While the grant isn’t funding Howard’s trip — the Siemens Foundation takes care of all the trip’s expenses — he expects to take what he learns and pass it on to other teachers at the school to support STEM integration.

Jernagan praised Howard as “a very innovated guy.”

“I think he can bring back some fantastic ideas for us,” Jernagan said. “It’s an honor to have Cory on our staff.”