At The DoSeum in San Antonio, Texas, Senior Educator Eugene Jimenez, is sharing his passion for STEM and constructivist teaching theory with the students and teachers of local school districts.
“I've had many hats and right now, though, I am privileged to be working with The DoSeum. I am one of their senior educators and we work with area school districts in regards to constructivist teaching and learning STEM,” Eugene said. After more than 13 years as a teacher, he now demonstrates lessons and shares theory with the area schools. “We have been using Engineering is Elementary for the past three years. We use it as our framework and our foundation to be able to help assist area educators in elevating their teaching and their learning.”
For Eugene, his EiE journey began years before he took his current role at the DoSeum, when he watched veteran educator Mark Barnett give a professional development presentation at a conference.
“What I found very enticing and engaging was the material that he was utilizing,” Eugene said. At that point, he started following EiE and has been an advocate ever since. “It was speaking to an individual's critical thinking, and it was speaking to the individual pursuing their inquiry and curiosity, but allowing them to have a framework.”
While he has experience with many of EiE’s science and engineering units, Eugene particularly enjoyed Lief Catches the Wind, our Alarming Circuits units and, most especially, Taking the Plunge, which allows students to design submersible vessels.
“I am a really firm believer in regards to that one. The reason being is, for like the last three years space hadn't been the goal any longer. We kind of lost focus on that — and thank you, NASA for bringing back the Mars Perseverance Rover — but before then Taking the Plunge helped me to get fellow educators associated with the Sea Grant project,” Eugene said. The free, MIT curriculum program focuses on ocean engineering, aquatic engineering and rover science. “And so because a big chunk of this planet is water and a larger portion of it is unexplored, what I thought is a good way to get educated, start to see that rover and science exploration curiosity once more.”
Having watched multiple facilitators implement the curricula, Eugene knows EiE’s hands-on and experimental way of learning can be new for educators to adjust to. But, there’s a common thread he sees among the educators who see beyond just the lesson plans and into the process and constructivist theory he uses as the framework of his teaching.
“What I really look for are my creative thinkers, individuals that not only embraced it, not only have utilized it, but look for ways to elevate and enhance it,” Eugene said. When he comes across those educators, he recommends they become EiE Ambassadors like he is. “They really embrace putting the student first. They really embrace giving the student the ability to guide and lead their own understanding and learning — their curiosity.”
According to Eugene, his Ambassadorship with EiE has provided professional development resources and a sense of community that he wants to pay forward to the next generation of educators, just like Mark Barnett originally inspired him.
“I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be, I know that this is my community. I know that these are the individuals that have experienced challenges and opportunities. I'm able to tap them on the shoulder or bounce ideas off of them,” Eugene said. “And we all know that to be very successful in education, you've got to have a community for transformation to occur. You've got to have the community.”
To see more from Eugene Jimenez, TheDoSeum and other #EiEAmbassador STEM journeys, check out @EiE_org on Twitter!