Teachers become students in unique STEM learning opportunity - AZEdNews
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Teachers become students in unique STEM learning opportunity


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  • Tim Sifert/ Office of the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools

Teachers Take Part In Hands On STEM Education At APS- Palo Verde's Teacher Education Day In 2019. Photo Courtesy Of Maya James/Office Of The Maricopa County School Superintendent

More than 220 K-12 teachers from across the Valley participated in APS – Palo Verde Teacher Education Day in partnership with the Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson and West-MEC.

Teachers participated in hands-on lab workshops featuring STEM-related activities with a focus on nuclear energy on Monday, June 17 at both the Palo Verde Energy Education Center and West-MEC in Buckeye, Ariz.

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Teachers work as a group as part of a hands-on STEM lab during APS- Palo Verde’s Teacher Education Day in 2019. Photo courtesy of Maya James/Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent

This professional development for Arizona teachers was provided in collaboration with APS energy professionals who work at the largest producer of clean and carbon-free energy in the United States – Palo Verde Generating Station – as a way for educators to build new and exciting learning opportunities for their students, while highlighting the career paths possible right here in Arizona with high-paying STEM-focused jobs.

Speakers at the event included Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson, West-MEC Superintendent Greg Donovan and APS Chief Nuclear Officer Bob Bement.

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Teachers discuss results during a STEM lab at APS- Palo Verde’s Teacher Education Day in 2019. Photo courtesy of Maya James/Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent

Teachers also had the opportunity to see the screening of Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trip to Palo Verde Generating Station.

During the event, teachers learned more about nuclear power and took part in several workshops, including those about:

Chaos & Predictability

Random motion can be observed every day in nature, human activity and science. This exercise will provide a structured method to study random motion and organize data into meaningful conclusions.

Relative Humidity vs. Dew Point

The term “dew point” is used in some parts of the country to describe how comfortable or uncomfortable a day may be based on relative humidity. This exercise will explore the relationship between temperature, relative humidity and dew points.

Buoyancy vs. Specific Gravity

If an object floats on water the object is considered buoyant, seldom is the specific gravity considered. This exercise will explore the relationship between buoyancy, specific gravity and density.

Centrifugal Pump Laws

Pumps operate to move fluids within a system and are governed by sets of laws that are used by engineers and technicians to predict operating parameters during design and use of systems. This exercise will explore the relationship between speed, flow, pressure and power.

Direct Current (DC) Basics

DC circuits, such as those associated with batteries, allow the movement of electrons to provide light and run machinery and are governed by Ohm’s Law. Engineers and technicians use Ohm’s Law to predict operating parameters during design and use of systems. This exercise will explore the relationship between current, resistance and voltage.

Speed Ratios

Drivers, such as electric motors, are used to provide motive force to fans, gears, sheaves and other mechanical devices. It would be expensive to provide a specific speed motor for each device that needed to be rotated; the use of different size sheaves can increase or decrease the speed of the driver thus eliminating the need to purchase expensive motors. This exercise will explore the relationship between speeds and sheave size.

More about the Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent

The Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent is led by elected Superintendent Steve Watson.  The office is statutorily responsible to provide services supporting school governing board elections, bond and override elections, appointments, school finance, and maintain homeschool and private school records. 

The superintendent leverages the office to strengthen teacher voice, increase respect for the education profession and create resources that expand the capacity of teachers, administrators and support staff.  The superintendent also oversees the Maricopa County accommodation district.

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Teachers take part in hands on STEM education at APS- Palo Verde’s Teacher Education Day in 2019. Photo courtesy of Maya James/Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent