SWFL K-12 teachers learned from FGCU experts at STEM workshop

Published: August 5, 2022 12:23 PM EDT

Over the summer, K-12 teachers in Southwest Florida took a week off from the break to attend a STEM workshop, in which experts from Florida Gulf Coast University taught the educators. WINK News reporter Elizabeth Biro attended the workshop and explains how the teachers are bringing those hands-on lessons back to their classrooms.

The activities in the STEM workshop were focused on Southwest Florida’s environment, from bones and comparative anatomy to building a water filter. What is clear from talking to the teachers in attendance is why being a lifelong learner is crucial to being an educator.

The teachers are used to being in front of the classroom, but with the FGCU professors, they were in the students’ seats—taking notes, asking questions, doing experiments and absorbing new lessons. They came for new, hands-on lesson plans, but the teachers told WINK News that they left the STEM workshop with a renewed love of learning.

“I feel like after doing this institute, I’m taking away a lot,” said Amy Brewster, a 4th grade teacher at Golden Terrace Elementary School.

“I’m starting to get giddy again and get excited,” said Kelsey McEachern, an AP environmental science teacher at Naples High School. “I mean, we get stagnant a little bit.”

McEachern says she knows that the more engaged she is, the more engaged her students will be.

“If they see us excited about learning new things and introducing new things, hopefully, the goal is to keep them engaged and want to learn more themselves,” McEachern said. “If one kid walks away and gets excited about it, and it worked for one kid, then I’m happy.”