Views
13 months ago

2018 Annual Report

HONORING AND EMPOWERING

HONORING AND EMPOWERING TEACHERS — VAN ANDEL EDUCATION INSTITUTE’S INAUGURAL SCIENCE ON THE GRAND CONFERENCE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SPEND THEIR SUMMER DAYS AT VAN ANDEL EDUCATION INSTITUTE EDUCATION In 2018, more than 130 teachers, administrators and education professionals visited Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) for the inaugural Science on the Grand conference. Terra Tarango, VAEI’s director and chief education officer, and her team designed the conference to honor the work of teachers and provide them with the opportunity to gain practical, purposeful strategies to incorporate inquirybased instruction into their teaching. “During this event we literally and figuratively rolled out the red carpet for teachers,” Tarango said. “We wanted teachers to be inspired by world-class speakers, as well as empowered with classroom-proven strategies and lessons to create extraordinary classrooms. But more than that, we wanted them to feel honored and appreciated for the extraordinary work they do.” Lori Corley, principal of Springfield Elementary in Greenwood, South Carolina, traveled hundreds of miles to attend the conference along with two science teachers from her school. Corley was introduced to the Institute while attending the National Science Teachers Association Conference, where she met VAEI education specialists and learned about the Institute’s science education and professional development programs. “After meeting representatives from the Institute, I recognized that the beliefs that go into VAEI’s education philosophy are very similar to the beliefs that I hold as a principal,” she said. While at the conference, Corley and members of her team went on a tour of an Institute lab, met with scientists, participated in breakout sessions, heard inspirational TEACHERS DISCUSS INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING AT THE INAUGURAL SCIENCE ON THE GRAND CONFERENCE. “We wanted teachers to be inspired by world-class speakers, as well as empowered with classroom-proven strategies and lessons to create extraordinary classrooms.” — Terra Tarango speakers and networked with teachers, where they discovered new ways to view education and new insights into their profession. “One of the takeaways I received from the conference is the importance of teaching students to think like scientists,” Corley said. “We want to let students know that if you think like a scientist in the classroom, there is no reason why you can’t be one in the future. I think this understanding is really important.” Tarango is optimistic that the conference will serve as a way for teachers and administrators to become familiarized with both the Institute and its mission, which focuses on inquiry-based instruction. The two-day conference was divided into two sections — day one focusing on classroom culture and day two focusing on practical, inquiry-based lessons and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) content. Tarango views the conference structure as a reflection of VAEI’s framework, which emphasizes both the classroom learning environment and content-area knowledge. “I think the conference was a perfect forum for reminding teachers why they entered this noble profession and inspiring them to continually grow and improve their craft,” she said. “I have heard from many teachers who were frustrated with teaching, tempted to leave education altogether, and then they heard an inspiring speaker or learned an innovative strategy at a conference, and just like that — they are recommitted to their students and all the promise of this remarkable profession.” High school students from across West Michigan spent their summer days exploring their world and making new discoveries during Van Andel Education Institute’s (VAEI) week-long summer camp. Students used hands-on interactive investigations and inquiry-based learning techniques to delve into a series of complex projects including using electrophoresis to identify DNA, testing the quality of river water, exploring what it would be like to live on Mars, and building and testing robotic devices. VAEI’s summer camp is one of several student programs in which young scientists can explore their world, collaborate with other students and learn in an environment where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive. Esther Vanderwey, Sophomore “I like science very much, so I really enjoyed this camp. Today, we were using DNA to figure out how to solve crimes. We used samples and gel electrophoresis to match DNA and learn about forensics. My interests are in zoology, but I love all sciences and I had a lot of fun.” Eli Lake, Freshman “The instructors we had at the camp are really nice. What I really loved is that we were doing things that scientists in a big university lab do right here in a classroom, and that is really cool. I really like science and one day I would like to be a molecular biologist.” Alex Kempston, Freshman “Everyone at the camp is interested in science, and it was a good opportunity for me to be around other people who like science as much as I do. I’m really interested in science as a career.” Sophia Maisel & Lucie Kovarik, Freshmen “The camp was good because it was very hands-on, and compared to doing online courses, this was more fun. We did a lot of trial and error in our projects, which is cool because it’s all up to you and your group if you succeed or fail. I liked working with other people and collaborating, and it was fun seeing people succeed.” VAEI’s summer camp is one of several student programs in which young scientists can explore their world, collaborate with other students and learn in an environment where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive. 32 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2018 VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2018 | 33

Publications by Year