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UNG hosts conference for STEM teachers

Dr. Sarah Formica was the keynote speaker for ELIPSE 2.0 and spent time conducting activities with area K12 teachers during the conference..

For the second year in a row, the University of North Georgia (UNG) hosted a conference to teach teachers how to ignite students’ interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from all grade levels.

The Experimental Learning and Inquiry for Physical Science Educators (ELIPSE 2.0) conference took place on the Gainesville Campus on April 30 to help ease the shortage of skilled workers in fields related to STEM. The joint effort between UNG, Brenau University, Georgia State University, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition and the Georgia Science Teachers Association included teachers from K-12.

"With the high demand for STEM jobs in the United States, it is important that we design our instruction to foster a culture of hope in our classrooms so that we foster our student’s curiosity and way of thinking," said Dr. April Nelms, assistant professor and coordinator of science education at UNG.

Engineering jobs are expected to grow from 7.4 million in 2012, to more than 8.6 million by 2018. With that in mind, it is important to understand that STEM’s goal is to keep students in these fields. Nearly six out of 10 U.S. students who begin high school interested in STEM fields change their minds by graduation according to a 2013 report from STEMconnector.

ELIPSE works hand-in-hand with Georgia’s universities to support STEM education in K-12 schools in northeast Georgia. The work ELIPSE does is designed to bolster the content knowledge of instructors, as well as strengthening teaching skills in STEM subjects.

"The focus of this year’s event was guided by the feedback from the teachers who attended last year’s event and how the newly implemented strategies from last year worked in the classrooms," said Dr. J.B. Sharma, professor and assistant head of the Department of Physics at UNG. "Hopefully the STEM pipeline for our students will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come."

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