At the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI), partnered with Alabama school districts, veteran teacher, Shundra Morris, instructs all of her educators to be flexible and to embrace the ebbs and flows of teaching.
Shundra Morris, the 2nd and 3rd grade science specialist, has been an educator for 25 years and, as she rounds out her third year teaching for AMSTI, is using her vast experience and role as an EiE Ambassador to inspire the next generation of educators. As the science specialist, Mrs. Morris is in charge of training educators from 11 schools and organizations on the best practices for leading science classrooms and how to use EiE units to engage their students.
“My favorite part is watching lesson four — always lesson four,” Mrs. Morris said, as she explained her process for teaching teachers. When teaching lesson four, Mrs. Morris often engages educators in role play, allowing them to take the role of the learner by stating, "Okay. You are a real engineer. I have just employed you to be that engineer. And they have to have that mindset." Mrs. Morris describes the focus of this lesson, "I don't play with that part at all, we are all about the business."
While Mrs. Morris’s learners are trained on EiE’s Hand Pollinators and Magnetic Levitation units, the veteran educator said the thing she loves most is the way it can empower educators to engage their learners in multiple subjects at the same time. To facilitate the Engineering is Elementary units, educators gain access to Educators Guides, Engineering Storybooks, and individual or classroom material kits.
“You have to realize the importance of what's in the whole kit. I mean, I'm a number one fan. It's like wow!” Mrs. Morris said. “My thing is, [with the inclusion of the engineering storybook], so many reading standards can be done with that. You got the multicultural piece that you could get the social studies in there. The core curriculum is just intertwined. It's just totally enmeshed in there from that one little unit, how it starts it all. So that's like perfect, isn’t it? It's a nice marriage.”
Each curated Engineering Adventure and Engineering Everywhere unit comes with supplies for hands-on engineering activities, from creating an hourglass to modeling water runoff in big cities. While Mrs. Morris focuses primarily on elementary lessons, she said she’d recommend EiE units to educators of any level.
“The bottom line is I enjoy what I do because I have an understanding of it,” Mrs. Morris said. “And my thing is, as a classroom teacher before I was even a specialist, I say ‘Each one teach one.’ That's my rule. Each one teach one. So if I find something that's like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really good.’ I want to share it.”
To see more from Shundra Morris, the Alabama Math Science & Tech Initiative (AMSTI) and other #eieinspired organization’s STEM journeys, check out @EiE_org on Twitter!