Fairmont State receives NASA Grant to support elementary science teachers
Fairmont State University has been awarded $5,000 in grant funding through the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium to help elementary science educators serve their students better and collaborate with colleagues to improve science education in West Virginia.
The project, titled Elementary Ambassadors for West Virginia Science Teachers Association (WVSTA), will be led by Josh Revels, Fairmont State’s Education Outreach Specialist at the Katherine Johnson NASA IV&V Education Resource Center, and Dr. Deb Hemler, Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Fairmont State.
“Through this project, Fairmont State will empower elementary teacher leaders in the state of West Virginia to share STEM lessons with professionals at WVSTA, which is the beginning of rejuvenating an engaging science culture and building scientific literacy in elementary schools across the state,” said Revels.
WVSTA recruits Elementary Ambassadors (EAs), experienced elementary teacher leaders who work to strengthen relationships between the WVSTA board and West Virginia’s elementary science classrooms. Grant funds will be used to provide specialized professional development courses and support to a team of ten EAs as they collaborate to create lesson plans that implement the new WV College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards and science process skills. The grant will also fund scholarships for the EAs to attend the WVSTA Annual Conference in October of 2023 to present and model their lesson plans.
The aims of the project also support NASA IV&V’s longstanding emphasis on science education, explains Revels.
“Not only does NASA IV&V's ERC provide access to equipment for implementing science in the classroom, but the faculty working there aims to increase STEM confidence in teachers. With its train-the-trainer model, we aim to empower teachers to become subject matter experts with classrooms embodying a STEM culture,” said Revels. “This project essentially turns our best elementary teachers into relatable trainers for those seeking to improve their teaching practices.”
Hemler also recalls the longstanding partnership between Fairmont State, NASA IV&V, and WVSTA.
“Fairmont State has always been a leader in training science educators for the state and recognizes the importance of a strong partnership with WVSTA,” said Hemler. “I currently serve as the Executive Director and Josh Revels is the current President, and the University has supported the organization for over 20 years.” She added, “This project will assist WVSTA in achieving its mission to provide professional development opportunities in science for all WV teachers.”NASA IV & V Educator Resource CenterJosh RevelsDeb Hemler