Mass. Teachers Learn about Engineering Problem-Solving at WPI

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - Summertime learning will provide enrichment for about 30 Massachusetts teachers July 18-24 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science in Worcester. About 30 middle-school and high-school teachers have signed up for an immersion workshop to learn how to bring problem-solving concepts into the classroom. The project will involve the development of an energy-saving product - a way of learning by dealing with real-world problems.

And what better place than WPI to teach an engineering approach to solving problems?

"Engineering and a product-development approach to problem-solving is outstanding," said Pauline Lamarche, a program director and principal of the Massachusetts Academy. "The professional but relaxed atmosphere, created by the instructors, allows participants to leave with something concrete that can be used at school. They learn about ideas that can be shared with other teachers, too."

The free weeklong workshop provides participants with a $100 stipend, a room in a WPI dormitory and all meals. In its second year now, the program is supported by a $12,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education.

The workshop approach provides first-hand experience that will ultimately be useful in teaching students to work as a team. The teachers will study energy conservation and transmission, and in groups, will devise a product that addresses an energy problem. They will then plan an interdisciplinary project to implement the product.

WPI staff, facilities and resources including computer labs, machine shops, electronic labs and library materials will be made available to participants. Two follow-up meetings during the school year will help reinforce the lessons from the summer workshop.

Teachers are attending from Carver Middle School, Westborough High School, Nashoba Regional High School, Holy Name High School, Easthampton High School, the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science, Bartlett High School, Leicester High School, Wilmington High School, Wachusett Regional High School, Southeast School, Norwood High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Sutton Middle School, Sullivan Middle School, Dartmouth High School, Arlington High School, Fitchburg High School, Belmont High School, Fuller Middle School and Paxton Center School.

For more information, please contact Lamarche at 508-831-5859.