Students interact with manufacturers at July session


NEW HAVEN — Science teachers from area middle and high schools received hands-on lessons in modern manufacturing techniques at a workshop held at Southern Connecticut State University and a number of local manufacturing companies July 29-31.Thirty STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educators attended the second annual Materials & Manufacturing Summer Teachers' Institute.

The event included tours of Platt Technical High School in Milford, Leed Himmel Industries in Hamden, New Haven’s Assa Abloy and Chabaso Bakery as well as the Lighting Quotient in West Haven. Co-sponsors included SCSU, Platt the New Haven Manufacturers Association (NHMA), the southern Connecticut chapter of the American Society for Materials, and the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP) at Yale University and SCSU.

Westport Public Schools teacher Kerstin Rao said the workshop will help her do a better job preparing her students to be workers, leaders and innovators.

"I learned that math skills are of utmost importance, as well as the 'soft skills,' which include personal responsibility, clear communication with people, taking initiative to solve problems, and being continually willing to learn," Rao said.

Christine C. Broadbridge, co-director of the Summer Teachers' Institute, said the second annual Institute marked solid progress toward translating the excitement of the teachers into improvements in their curricula.

"The teachers spent more time networking this year," said Broadbridge, who chairs the SCSU physics department at SCSU and is education director at CRISP. "There were more conversations about ways to bring what they learned back to the classroom through new lesson plans."

For instance, she cited a group of teachers who developed a new lesson plan related to the making of bread at Chabaso Bakery.

Robert Klancko, a representative of NHMA and co-director of the Summer Teachers' Institute, was honored with a plaque for his role in the annual program. He noted the addition of a new luncheon format this year that included a ten-minute "Meet the CEO" feature. "Attendees were able to get up close with industry leader," he explained.

The Institute included presentations on materials science, plant tours, hands-on projects, working groups, networking opportunities, student presentations at Platt Tech and a luncheon with keynote speaker James Gildea, plant manager for Bigelow Tea in Fairfield.