Fugate, Limburg to participate in STEM Innovation Hub
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 07, 2013 | 1072 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beth Fugate and Lauren Limburg of Walker Valley High School have been chosen to participate in the 2013-14 teacher fellowship program through the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Innovation Hub in Chattanooga.

Both are math teachers hoping to come away with practical applications for their subject to pass on to students.

Limburg teaches Algebra I in the Freshman Academy.

“I was just looking for ways that would make the learning more hands-on and more real for my students ... I just thought it would give me opportunities to learn best practices from other teachers,” Limburg said. “I just want to provide my students with real-world, hands-on experience.”

Fugate is a teacher in Walker Valley’s STEM Academy.

“I hoped to gain real world experiences to take back to my students to help them bring mathematics to life and see the importance of mathematics,” Fugate said.

She said she also hoped to develop more lessons that promote creative problem solving and innovation.

“All of us need to come together to create these kinds of experiences for our students,” Fugate said.

The STEM teacher said she hopes to use resources from her fellowship experience to present open-ended problems for her students to solve.

“I want to be a more well-rounded teacher. I have experience in the classroom, but I don’t have industry experience. I don’t have applied mathematics experience,” Fugate said.

One of the things that interested Limburg about the STEM fellowship was how STEM lessons incorporate information from so many different areas.

The opportunity to get advice from teachers also drew Limburg’s interest.

“So it’s not only helping my students, but it’s helping students across the freshman academy or across the school,” Limburg said. “The more that we can go and learn best practices, the better our kids will be able to learn.”

Teachers got their first taste of the experience in May when they attended a two-day event. During the event teachers were divided into groups to complete projects.

“I was really interested to see the diversity of teachers in our group. There were [teachers from] elementary all the way to high school,” Limburg said.

Sometimes the teachers were divided by subject. However, most of the information was presented to all the teachers

Limburg said they made a roller coaster track for marbles as a way to provide a hands-on activity to demonstrate speed and velocity.

“I could see how that would relate to so many subjects,” Limburg said. “It’s definitely cross-curricular.”

Also during the May sessions, teachers from last year’s fellowship program presented projects they had done with students as a result of being in the fellowship program.

“We were able to get a taste of what everyone had experienced or done and implemented in their classrooms,” Fugate said.

Teachers were encouraged to use the projects they are completing in the fellowship in their classrooms. Fugate said the teachers have accesss through the Innovation Hub to all of the resources needed to complete the projects.

“STEM is more than science, technology, engineering and math. It’s challenging students to see real-world activities and to think through things,” Limburg said. “It’s about that critical thinking aspect, and I really want to bring that to my kids.”

Limburg said she was also looking forward to sharing the information, tips and lesson plans she receives during the fellowship with other teachers at the school.

A three-day event set for next month will include a tour of the Volkswagen plant.

Fellows will meet once a month every month until next May.

Fugate and Limburg are following the footsteps of Walker Valley teachers Bo Borders and Alan Bivens, who participated in the program last year.

Participants receive a stipend for participation.