PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Science and math lessons are about to get more interactive for many South Mississippi students. On Friday, some middle school teachers took part in a free STEM workshop at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. What the teachers learned could change the way your child looks at engineering.
Twelve middle school teachers went back to class to learn from the engineers at Ingalls Shipbuilding. In one assignment, they had to use batteries, a pencil and wires to create their own flashlight.
"This is a challenge within itself," one teacher commented, as she tried to cut a wire.
The STEM workshop put a fresh spin on ordinary math and science lessons.
"My favorite so far is building a robotic arm. I build a robotic leg because bigger is better," said Nikeland Cooper, a science teacher at Magnolia Middle School.
"I have been enjoying all of it, and I know the kids will enjoy it also," said Joni Cooks, who teaches math at Gulfport Central Middle School.
With schools placing more emphasis on STEM, members of the Shipbuilder Women Engineers at Ingalls hosted the program to share their knowledge and challenge the teachers.
"One of the ways we're promoting STEM is by doing hands-on activities. By doing hands-on activities, that creates the excitement, the interest," said SWE President Charlotte Merritt.
"I hope I can inspire my kids to become engineers, and that's the point of it is to get kids to go beyond textbooks, go to life application learning, hands on," said Cooper.
By learning how to turn simple household items into fun experiments, the teachers hope to spark that same enthusiasm in their students.
"I can't wait to share it with our class when we go to school and start up in a few weeks," said Cooks.
"Oh, it's exciting. This is exactly what we wanted. We feel like with STEM, if you can have them to imagine it, if they can create it, which they're doing right now, then one day they'll be an engineer," said Merritt.
The teachers also learned about different careers in engineering and how fiber optics and smart technology, like I-Pads, are used in the shipbuilding industry.