2/26/14 Woodlawn science teacher Kristen Riley talks about science opportunities for her students

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North Carolina State University graduate students visiting Woodlawn Middle School last Friday to teach students STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) with hands-on experiments are (seated) Sarah Hambridge, Byron Beddingfield, and Liqi Zhang; and (standing) Quadri Oguntade, Adam Morgan, Robert Clark, Damien Knight and Will Edmondson. They are part of NC State University’s FREEDM (Free Renewable Electrical Energy Management) Systems Center.

Karen Carter / Mebane Enterprise

North Carolina State University graduate students visiting Woodlawn Middle School last Friday to teach students STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) with hands-on experiments are (seated) Sarah Hambridge, Byron Beddingfield, and Liqi Zhang; and (standing) Quadri Oguntade, Adam Morgan, Robert Clark, Damien Knight and Will Edmondson. They are part of NC State University’s FREEDM (Free Renewable Electrical Energy Management) Systems Center.

Woodlawn science teacher Kristen Riley talks about science opportunities for her students
By KAREN CARTER, Enterprise Editor, The Mebane Enterprise 2/26/14  
Reprinted with permission.


Woodlawn Middle School science teacher Kristen Riley is a Kenan Fellow.

The National Science Foundation and the Alamance-Burlington Schools are in partnership with North Carolina State University to present science opportunities in the classroom.

Teachers who are a Kenan Fellow function as a scientist, said Riley, and think about how they can transfer what they learn to the classroom.

“It’s a shift in how you teach,” said Riley. “It’s all about solving real-world problems.”

She said, “Rather than just teaching science and math and electricity, you teach the problems associated with generating electricity. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) involves taking the content and doing something with it.”

Riley said she wanted to thank the community that has supported Woodlawn Middle School. “The community has been unbelievably supportive.”

The Kenan Fellow program gives teachers like Riley both lesson plans and leadership development.

“I enjoy learning new things,” said Riley. “Through the Kenan Fellow program, I got to offer this opportunity for our students to have this visit with the graduate students from North Carolina State University.

“As a Kenan Fellow, I participated in the five-week fellowship program for teachers to learn different types of renewable energy.

Riley said the visit from NC State University graduate students is important so that students experience what they might want to do after high school.

“You need a good, solid math and science background in undergraduate studies to go onto graduate school, especially in the field of engineering. I’ve been talking to my eighth graders this year about they might want to do. They have pre-conceived ideas. So I want them to have authentic opportunities to work with science and they will discover what is interesting and possible.”

Riley was part of the FREEDM program last year and was able to use the resources, time, lesson plans, leadership development, and work as a scientist to bring her experience back to the classroom.