Teachers tour Bolingbrook quarry for science training
September 13, 2012 2:30PM
Area teachers visited the Vulcan Materials Co.’s Bolingbrook quarry to receive some hands-on training inscience technology engineering and math. | submitted photo
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:10AM
BOLINGBROOK — Area teachers visited Vulcan Materials Co.’s Bolingbrook Quarry to receive some hands-on training in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects, as part of a three-hour graduate course taken for professional development.
An annual collaboration between Vulcan and the Three Rivers Education Partnership now in its third year, Vulcan is one of five daylong business partnerships that aim to demonstrate real-world applications that sixth- to twelfth-grade math and science teachers can share with their students to generate interest in STEM careers, like those offered at local businesses like Vulcan.
“A new study published in the journal Science Education shows that in order to get students interested in STEM subjects, lessons need to be local, relevant and personal,” said Laura Price, a program manager at Three Rivers. “Outings like this apply to all three of those elements, and result in a much more engaging, enriching classroom experience that is proven to pique an interest in these vital disciplines.”
As part of a weeklong graduate class attended by 12 area teachers, the day at the Bolingbrook Quarry included an overview presentation as well as the opportunity to tour the underground quarry and see for themselves, the various STEM applications at work.
“Vulcan Materials provided the context for what I’m teaching,” said Thomas Connelly from Joliet Township High School. “They’ve provided the real-world background to make it relevant to my students.”
STEM subjects have received considerable emphasis lately, especially on the national level, with President Obama in 2011 calling for 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next 10 years.
“The demand for STEM jobs is constantly growing,” said Jon Carmack, plant manager of the quarry. “Our goal is to instill the value of the knowledge we use in our daily operations.”