A state wide conference is providing valuable lessons in STEM for teachers, especially those who are new to teaching the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The first ever state wide conference of STEM teachers in Washburn, Kansas, provided opportunities for teachers to ignite the interest of children as young as preschool in STEM subjects.

“The main thing is getting them ready for the world they’re going to be living in,” said Cris Adams, a K-6 technology teacher at Beloit Elementary. “We’re trying to collaborate more with English teachers, with science and social studies, and bringing that all in together.”

The collaboration that Adams has with the teachers in his school is just what Cherry Steffen, chairwoman of the Washburn University department of education hopes the conference will accomplish in opening up STEM for teachers.

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“I believe the earlier the better,” Steffen said. “If we start with preschoolers, we get them comfortable with solving problems, we get them comfortable with making mistakes. That’s a huge piece of what we do in math and science. If we allow kids to do that, to explore and ask questions and solve problems, we’re setting them up to be STEM professionals and that’s our goal.”

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