INL News Release
Oct. 1, 2009

Idaho Falls: Kortny Rolston, 208-526-0962,
Boise: Marilyn Whitney, 208-334-9572,

INL-trained educators teaching energy session

IDAHO FALLS – Idaho-based educators are teaching their colleagues about energy this week through a new program Idaho National Laboratory is piloting to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in Idaho schools.

The eight educators are teaching sessions at professional development workshops throughout Idaho during a statewide in-service for K-12 teachers Oct. 1-2. The INL STEM instructors will be educating other teachers at:

• The "Technology in Math and Science For a Changing World" conference sponsored by the Idaho Science Teacher Association and Idaho Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Borah High School in Boise.
• "The Whole Child, Whole Teacher" conference sponsored by Idaho Falls School District 91, Skyline High School in Idaho Falls.
• The "Partnerships in Education" conference at Lewiston High School in Lewiston.

All eight instructors attended an INL-sponsored four-day energy workshop in August and underwent extra training so they could educate their colleagues about nuclear, solar and other sources of energy, and how to effectively apply that information in classrooms.

The STEM lessons are interactive and designed to teach students through hands-on projects about the “Science of Energy,” how windmills produce electricity, and other topics.

Melinda Hamilton, INL's director of education programs, said that putting more tools in the hands of teachers is a key part of the lab's strategy to bolster STEM education throughout the state.

While groups in other states have opened science- and math-based schools, INL is trying to provide as many professional development opportunities and STEM resources for Idaho educators as possible.

"Our goal is to reach as many students as we can, which is challenging in Idaho because it is a large, rural state," she said. "If you train one teacher, you only reach 25 to 30 students. If you train multiple teachers and they teach their colleagues, we reach hundreds of students in all areas of the state."

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development.

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