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February 20, 2019

SVSU receives $99K grant to train elementary school teachers in engaging STEM education strategies

SMEK_campThe Regional Mathematics and Science Center at Saginaw Valley State University has been awarded a grant from the Michigan Department of Education’s MiSTEM Advisory Council to help elementary teachers foster a love of science and math in students, starting at an early age.

The $99,672 grant will enable SVSU to provide professional development training to teachers in grades 1 to 5 throughout the East Central MiSTEM region, which includes Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties. The program is called “Engineering is Elementary.”

Tamara Barrientos — director of the SVSU Regional Mathematics and Science Center — said the professional development program is valuable because it gives elementary school teachers an integrated approach to implementing science and math standards.

“And it gives students an engaging, team-based approach to learning by solving real-world problems,” Barrientos said. “This professional development has the potential to positively impact thousands of students throughout our region.”

MiSTEM is an effort by the state of Michigan to create a system that will produce more science, technology, engineering and math-equipped students and educators by empowering them through professional training and development. In pursuing those goals, MiSTEM also integrates businesses and educational institutions.

The MiSTEM advisory council earlier this month awarded over $3 million to 21 STEM-related projects at both higher education institutions as well as K-12 schools.

“Engineering is Elementary” is an award-winning program created by the Museum of Science, Boston, designed to inspire problem solving and critical thinking for all students.

The first phase of the training is scheduled Friday to Sunday, March 5-7, at SVSU. The workshop will be facilitated by professional development trainers from the Museum of Science, Boston.

Attendees will be certified to conduct “Engineering is Elementary” professional development training during the second phase of the project.

Educators interested in applying for the workshops can contact Barrientos at (989) 964-4115 or The deadline to apply for the training is Friday, Feb. 22.