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First Group of STEM-H Teachers Completes 2012 Workshop


STEM-H Teachers tour the submarine USS SCRANTON (SSN 756) at Norfolk. Teachers (L-R): Cynthia Woolston, Ben Barris, John Clark, Janice Cunningham.

On Friday, 20 July, our first group of STEM-H Teacher Fellows completed their 2012 summer workshop with final presentations of lesson plans developed during an intense two week program. The four teachers in the first group were: Benjamin J. Barris (A.C. Jones High School, Beeville, TX); Janice Cunningham (Berkeley County School District, SC); John Clark (Deltona High School, Deltona, FL); and Cynthia Woolston (Brunswick R-II School District, Brunswick, MO). Their lesson plans covered topics relevant to the history of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force during the Cold War. The program was lead for the second year in a row by Captain John Paulson, USN (Ret), former Commanding Officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690).

The four teachers began their fellowship program at the Navy Museum’s Cold War Gallery on 9 July, and spent the following two weeks receiving instruction from experts on U.S. Navy submarines and technology. Topics covered included sonar, radar, ballistic missiles, torpedoes, nuclear propulsion, environmental controls, and buoyancy. Instruction was given by both active duty and retired submariners. The teachers also had the opportunity for an exciting trip to Naval Station Norfolk, where they were given a two hour tour of the nuclear attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756). You can see more photos of their two week program here, on our Facebook page.

The goal of the program is to develop lessons plans teaching middle school and high school students about concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, through the history of the U.S. Navy. The two week immersive experience provided the four teachers with the foundation they needed to begin developing their plans. We’re very excited about the new plans developed by this group of educators. Two of our teachers developed extensive plans about sonar, with activities teaching students about the propagation of sound and the Doppler Effect. Another plan will use submarine navigation and missile firing ranges as a way to teach about vectors and trajectories.

An important addition to this year’s program is a stronger emphasis on history in the lesson plans. Several of the new plans were generated specifically to address this need. One of the plans is a detailed scavenger hunt of the Cold War Gallery website. Another looks at the history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And one plan will encourage students to unravel history on their own, using oral histories and primary source documents.

These plans will be added to the Cold War Gallery website’s Education Section. We expect to begin launching new plans in August. If you are an educator, we hope you will check out the selection of lesson plans that were developed by our 2011 Teacher Fellows, which are already online.

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