EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Four Fernwood Avenue Middle School teachers in Egg Harbor Township were selected last year to participate in a STEM fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. On Thursday, the fruits of their labor were on display at the district’s first STEM Day for sixth-graders.
Over the summer, teachers Christina Kupcinski, Janice Blaine, Tracey Latshaw and Ashley Mosetti attended the two-week conference at the university in Indiana where they learned, among other things, how to enhance their teaching skills.
The fellowship is a three-year program in which the teachers attend workshops and conferences and receive $6,000 in funding to integrate STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, into the classroom. Fernwood Avenue Middle School was one of only two schools in the state selected for the University of Notre Dame Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows.
“It was truly an amazing experience, and we learned so much,” Kupcinski said.
As part of the teachers’ required STEM Impact Plan, STEM Day was created.
This week, Kupcinski’s and Blaine’s Earth science students created two- to four-story towers of string, cardboard, tape and plastic straws that could withstand a simulated earthquake and hold a 250-gram bag of sand. On Thursday, those towers were tested.
The day also included engineers from the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center and a penny boat challenge.
About half of the sixth-grade class at Fernwood participated in this year’s STEM Day, but Kupcinski said the teachers hope to expand the program next year.