STEM Coaching Program Stimulates Student Engagement

STEM educators from GEAR UP 4 LA schools had the opportunity to participate in an interactive professional development in which they learned how to integrate new technology into their lessons to enhance student learning and support their dynamic learning environments.

Participants explored ways to use TI-Nspire graphic calculators to engage students and deepen their understanding of abstract concepts in math and science.

“Real-world data is messy. It’s not perfect. It involves a lot of thinking and problem-solving,” said Texas Instruments Systemic Coach Linda Antinone, who has been coaching science, technology, engineering, and math teachers for 34 years. “When students are engaged and can solve problems from multiple perspectives with teacher guidance, their understanding is deeper and richer than when they learn from one way.”

As a GU4LA partner, Texas Instruments provides STEM teachers with professional development and coaching designed to enhance instructional practices, content knowledge, and technology integration with the aim of improving student achievement in math and science.

The Dec. 4 training offered instructors – whose subjects ranged from Algebra 1 and 2, physics, and biology to geometry, statistics, and pre-calculus – the opportunity to learn about the capabilities of a connected classroom in which teachers can assess student learning in real-time.

“This was the first day some of these very talented and motivated teachers had ever even used the calculator and didn’t know the technology at all,” Antinone said. “They caught on quickly, helped each other, and had a lot of great ideas for how students can benefit from this type of technology.”

Teachers also analyzed data and practiced basic coding using a TI rover they programmed to draw geometric figures. They will be able to integrate the activities into their lessons in alignment with the math and science curriculum.

“It was really engaging. I can’t wait to share what I learned with my students.”

Velia Valle, geometry teacher at New Open World Academy at RFK Community Schools

Salvador Benavidez, who teaches Algebra 2 and statistics at RFK-NOW, said he was excited to use the new strategies he learned.

“Thank you so much for the long-awaited opportunity to professionally hone our TI calculator skills again and learn new ones,” he said.

Trainings will continue in Spring 2022, with teachers receiving one-on-one coaching sessions such as demonstration lessons, planning, co-teaching, and more.

“The training was exactly what we needed to strengthen our commitment to increasing access to hands-on math and science courses and ensuring achievement for all students,” GU4LA Site Coordinator Danny Tran said. “It was great to see everyone collaborating and having fun. As I was sitting there, I could imagine how this would play out in a classroom and got excited for what’s to come for our students.”