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West Stanly Middle school teacher attends STEM conference in Raleigh

West Stanly Middle School teacher Jennifer Flowe attended the emPowering STEM Classroom to Career Conference in Raleigh, which focused on ways to improve students’ success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Middle school STEM teachers from each county were present at the one-day conference. Flowe said she was chosen by SCS principals to represent the county.

Flowe, who is the interim assistant principal and a STEM teacher, said teachers were divided into small groups and worked together on four interactive STEM lesson labs, including extracting DNA from a strawberry, working with robots to better understand the spread of infectious diseases, learning to build a mock power grid and using a magnetic shaving powder to detect cracks in steel.

During the conference, experts from North Carolina Electric Cooperatives, Duke Energy, Siemens, Dell Computers, the Department of Poultry Science at NCSU, Applied LifeSciences & Systems, the Morehead Planetarium and Fleet Readiness Center worked with teachers throughout the day in the interactive learning labs.

Flowe said she enjoyed working with the teachers to build the power grid that was able to light a small house. The teachers were provided no instructions, yet were able to successfully power the grid in less than 10 minutes.

Teachers working to create a power grid to power a house at the emPowering STEM Classroom to Career Conference in Raleigh. (Photo credit: Jennifer Flowe)

The conference was a project of the North Carolina Business Committee on Education (NCBCE), a nonprofit housed in the Governor’s Office, that develops and executes education programs including work-based learning, according to a press release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

The press release stated: “By bringing educators and employers together, we’ll help students develop the skills they need to thrive in the workforce.”

“We mainly discussed STEM real world applications and preparing these kids for jobs in the future,” Flowe said.

The conference also allowed teachers to network with each other and learn what’s happening in STEM schools across the state.

The conference helped to reinforce key skills STEM students will need in order to have successful careers including problem solving, creative thinking, learning to lead, working as a group and being able to effectively communicate, Flowe said.

The conference provided key information, lesson plans and resources (including a list of potential guest speakers) Flowe is excited to share with the other schools in the school system.

“I went and represented the district,” she said, “and so I shouldn’t go back and keep it within my school.”

Contact Chris Miller at 704-982-2122.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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