The Florida Space Grant Consortium is pleased to announce that on December 5th, 2008 the GE Foundation officially established its support for our Train the Trainer and Engineer-Teacher connection with NASA program. This commitment by the GE Foundation once again highlights the generosity they have shown in their pledge to support scientific education.

The goal of the program is two-fold; we intend to increase teachers’ aptitude in the sciences, through Train the Trainer, while simultaneously creating a forum of live interaction between professional engineers and the teachers, via Engineer-Teacher Connection.
The Train the Trainer program consists of series of workshops that are designed to instruct pre-college educators how to develop classroom environments in which students feel comfortable solving math & science problems. Research has shown that Inquiry-based instruction has been proven to improve student’s learning aptitude by providing hands-on activities that require cognitive thinking skills to solve problems. The National Science Teachers Association has made inquiry instruction a best practice in teaching and inquiry has been adopted as a teaching method in the National Science Education Standards. Although widely accepted as the most effective teaching method, many teachers are simply not aware of its advantages, even though they are encouraged by County School Boards and the Florida Dept. of Education. A total of 10 workshops will serve 250 teachers from across the state in which they will learn how to implement inquiry methods in their classroom.

The Engineer-Teacher Connection program will be established to provide a mechanism whereby pre-college teachers and practicing engineers may connect for purposes of collaborating to strengthen science and engineering education. Teachers benefit from the engineers’ useful technical guidance they will provide for science and technology projects, as well their advisement on the implementation of engineering into pre-college curricula. Participating engineers are interested in promoting their field, fulfilling their employer’s corporate community responsibilities, and becoming positive role models fro young potential engineers and scientists.
The Florida Space Grant Consortium is excited about getting these projects off the ground thanks to the GE Foundation.