STEM NEWS

Riverside Intermediate School teacher completes study program in Germany
Current Publishing. Renee Larr. September 09, 2017.

With the start of school comes the dwindling of Maine’s plethora of agricultural fairs, which have kept the members of 4-H’s traditional livestock clubs busy all summer long as they proudly displayed the animals they spent the previous year raising.
 
These clubs, which are organized regionally by 4-H’s county-based offices and cover a variety of separate topics from raising dairy animals to successful garden planning, have been a pillar of 4-H nationally and locally since the organization was formed over a century ago. In Maine alone, there are about 300 of these clubs.
 
Holly Miller, a sixth-grade STEM teacher at Riverside Intermediate School, recently completed a two-week study program in Germany. Miller was one of more than 100 teachers chosen by the Transatlantic Outreach Program to visit German schools and learn STEM best practices.
 
“TOP is a partnership between Germany and the U.S. through the Goethe-Institut in Washington, D.C.,” Miller said. “They want to provide this immersive study of contemporary Germany specifically related to STEM and issues of sustainability.”
 
From July 7-22, Miller traveled to different cities in Germany meeting with students, teachers, government leaders and museum employees.
 
“We landed in Munich and then we went to a different city almost every other day. In each city, we would go to schools that were strong in STEM education or had a special environmental education emphasis,” Miller said. “It was just very academic but fun at the same time because we got to participate with the kids in the classrooms. There is so much that happened I couldn’t wait to tell my students.”
 
The teachers not only learned from the people they met in Germany but also from each other.
 
“It was one of the most fantastic professional developments I’ve ever been a part of,” she said. “We’d hop back on the bus and talk about what we learned that day and how to use it in our classroom. We had all these great teachers on the bus having discussions.”
 
Miller knows exactly how she will apply what she learned in her own classroom.
 
“My overall takeaway is the world faces lots of global challenges that require global solutions. We as teachers have to foster those skills needed to make these interconnected challenges happen,” she said. “I’m hoping to be able to move my kids to the next level of 21st century learning.”

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