Teacher Workshop Held at University of Findlay Thanks to Grant Funding
University of Findlay was selected in 2022 as a recipient of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ohio Environmental Educational Fund (OEEF) Grant. UF was awarded $37,684 to inform and educate teachers about the benefits of agriculture, sustainability, renewable resources, and agricultural business. On Friday, May 26, teachers from surrounding schools attended a no-cost workshop that included hands-on learning.
“Part of the grant that was funded through the Ohio EPA was a stipend to pay for the cost of attending and for the cost of one credit hour of continued education,” said Nathan Tice, Ph.D. associate professor of chemistry and chair of physical science. “This is where we can have the greatest impact. When you get the teachers plugged in and prepared, they can then go out and educate students and their colleagues.”
Teachers in attendance, including Valerie Karhoff, agricultural instructor at Vanguard Sentinel Career & Technologies Centers, Lakota Schools satellite location, spent time in the lab learning about biodiesel formation and titration. “Taking this back to my classroom offers an opportunity for my students to get a different type of lab experience. Maybe chemistry wasn’t enticing for them, but agricultural education is,” she said.
As a science teacher at Perkins High School, John Gerber was looking for ideas to integrate environmental issues into his high school chemistry curriculum. “The fact that I’ll be able to help my students do these labs and relate it to cutting edge technologies is awesome. This resource guide is going to improve lab skills, increase engagement, and possibly spark interest in STEM careers,” said Gerber.
Not only did teachers get the chance to do the labs themselves, as part of the grant, Tice and the University of Findlay plan to continue to help teachers with the integration of the new curriculum. “We will be following up with teachers over the summer and into the fall school year, working with them to generate ideas on how to incorporate today’s efforts into the classroom,” said Tice. “We also hope to make future visits to their classrooms to help. It’s more than just the financial side of things, we want to help with the intellectual side as well.”
Grant funding from the Ohio EPA also created a stipend for the teachers in attendance to receive assistance in making purchases for their classrooms. “As part of the stipend they can purchase equipment, glassware, and materials for their schools. We don’t want cost to be a barrier for the teachers out there,” said Tice.
Another Waste to Energy Workshop will take place in Summer 2024, but Tice encourages all teachers to reach out if they are looking for assistance or advice in how to better help their students. The “Waste to Energy Teacher Resource” book, that contains 11 chapters of course work and labs involving biofuels, biodiesels, and waste oil titration, can be found online at no cost.
For those educators interested in workshops or looking to coordinate STEM/STEAM learning with the University of Findlay, are encouraged to reach out to University of Findlay STEAM education and outreach coordinator, Dana Emmert, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org.