In collaboration with Liberty Science Center (LSC), the Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) at Rutgers University-Newark was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education in 2014, launching “Excite and Ignite: Building the Next Generation of Teachers” (NextGen), with Jersey City Public Schools as a third partner. This grant-funded partnership focuses on building stronger pre-service teachers, especially in STEM, through innovative programs.
In 2017, Liberty Science Center hosted two weeks of professional development for UTEP’s pre-service teachers. The program focused on strategies to promote higher-level learning in students. The pre-service teachers investigated LSC’s interactive exhibits, observed STEM Educator programs, practiced student-centered teaching strategies, and planned an inquiry-based unit. Hailing from STEM fields and the humanities, these teachers found common ground in exploring online mapping, student-directed investigations, and communication skills.
They all hit the ground running after this program, taking their new skills into the classroom full-time. We are excited to watch inquiry-based learning and higher-order thinking in their classrooms!