Where History And Technology Come To Life
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Portrait of Marconi
G. Marconi
Chatham Marconi Maritime Center - STEM Education Program

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to include technology/engineering in its Education Frameworks, a decision that necessitated the development of curricula for teachers to use at all levels in our public schools. In response to this need, CMMC began working on STEM classes in 2008 and launched a major education initiative in 2011 when it partnered with the Public Schools of Chatham and Harwich, MA (now the Monomoy Regional School District), and the MIT Club of Cape Cod to develop curriculum and teacher training materials in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The specific focus of the program is on the subject areas of Communications Engineering and Design. These fields are two of the subtopics in the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks. They also coincide with the mission of CMMC and our emphasis on wireless communications. Finally, we live in the “information age.” Innovations are occurring on a daily basis and the products that reach the marketplace are having a profound effect upon society.

Our implementation plan includes active roles for both professionals and volunteers in K-12 classrooms throughout Cape Cod. Funding for the project has come from a major grant from the Verizon Foundation. With a robust program developed by professional educators, CMMC is engaged in helping local school districts meet the newly adopted MA STEM Education Framework through:

Curriculum Development:

New instructional content has been developed and piloted. The content is focused on a Communication Engineering and Design curriculum and represents a STEM approach to the lesson plans, in-class demonstrations and teacher guides at the elementary, middle and high school levels. It includes summative and formative assessments.

Our implementation plan includes active roles for both professionals and volunteers in K-12 classrooms. We are combining the resources of educators with curriculum-writing experience and volunteers with engineering experience to write lesson plans that have real-world relevance for students. Examples are used to inform students of the mathematical tools, scientific principles and existing technologies that support engineering efforts. The lesson plans follow Understanding by Design (Backward design model for teaching and assessment). The lesson plans are structured to help students learn about the fundamental science behind our modern communications systems and the technologies that make them work. We are also providing opportunities for students to use the engineering design process to solve problems and create prototypes to meet new communications needs.

The teachers are responsible for piloting the new lesson plans in their classrooms. An Education Director is available to help with preparing materials for the classroom and engaging other teachers in the combined schools to pilot the lessons. Final drafts of the lesson plans include results from the classroom pilot programs.

Professional Development Programs for Educators:

CMMC’s current professional development initiative includes two courses for teachers conducted over two days. The first course introduces educators to engineering and ways in which engineers solve problems. The second course focuses on providing educators with the technical background to teach Communications Engineering and Design in their classrooms.

STEM Advisory Board:

Working with our partners, a STEM Advisory Board has also been established. Volunteers on the Board have created professional development materials for teachers, providing educators with the technical background to teach STEM topics. They are also responsible for the content areas of Communications Engineering and Design, including technology roadmaps, creating demonstrations for the classroom and providing support for teachers. The curriculum is designed to provide foundational principles in engineering and design and promote problem-solving and creative thinking skills.

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