The second day of the STEM-PBL Teaching Institute began with a tour of LiDestri Foods in Fairport. There were many connections to classroom learning and insights shared after we returned. Teachers commented on the many different jobs it takes to manufacture food, most of which students never consider, or may not be aware of, when thinking about careers. Furthermore, teachers were giving insight to what levels of education are required to work various jobs within the manufacturing company. Other lessons learned were how essential collaboration among different team members is and how each member has ownership of the overall process while fulfilling their individual role. From engineers and managers to factory line-workers, each person takes responsibility for the product. Teachers saw examples of simple machines, complex machines, environmental issues, and application of vocabulary in ways that gave them a new perspective on their responsibility as teachers of tomorrow’s workers and citizens.
In the afternoon, teachers worked on their projects and were treated to a tour of the Green Machine mobile science learning lab by Steve Orcutt, BOCES Director of Instructional Programs and Services. Teachers used their experiences and resources to dive into their own planning, realizing that starting small can be both harder and easier than first thought. In breaking the planning down into manageable parts they slowly but surely are moving through the process at a comfortable pace while feeling as empowered as they imagine their students will be experiencing these new lessons.