The University of North Texas gave three local teachers the opportunity to go back to school.
The university hosted the teachers last month during the Summer Science Institute with the aim of helping them develop lesson plans in English and Spanish.
“The goal of the Summer Institute is for teachers to inspire their Hispanic students to engage more in the field of science especially given the shortage of Hispanic scientists in the U.S.,” said Ana Figueras, a graduate assistant in the Office of Bilingual/ESL Teacher Education in the UNT College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education and Administration.
This is the second year of the three-year interdisciplinary project funded by the National Science Foundation. In the final year next summer, the teachers who participated the first two years will be invited to spend a week on campus with some of their English learners for a summer science academy, said Rossana Boyd, a co-principal investigator of the project.
This year’s teachers, Ladys Contreras and Jesus Sanchez Ontiveros from Fort Worth ISD and Mary Batalla from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD learned about new research in the area of C-Lignin from doctoral fellows from the BioDiscovery Institute in the College of Science and from the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering in the College of Engineering.
“The Science Teachers’ Summer Institute provides the participating teachers a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about current research that is helping to shape our world,” said Richard Dixon, director of the BioDiscovery Institute and distinguished research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
“This enables them to better engage with their students about how science impacts people’s lives, and to develop lesson plans that open the students’ eyes to possibilities beyond simply learning the science curriculum,” he continued. “Conversely, the experience of working with top class teachers has provided my postdocs and graduate students valuable lessons in the importance of communicating their science to the next generation.”