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Pre-university Educators Find Value in the Versatility of IEEE REACH

Teachers discover IEEE REACH at the 103rd National Council for for the Social Studies’ Annual Conference

Educators understand that there is an interconnectedness between STEM and other disciplines, and they recognize that interdisciplinary approaches in education are essential for real-world learning and problem-solving. IEEE REACH, a free open education resource, provides pre-university STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and social studies educators with the versatile, interdisciplinary resources they need to make these types of connections come alive in the classroom. 

The value of the multifaceted REACH resources is evident when teachers experience the program for the first time. At recent conferences showcasing these resources, educators shared their appreciation for the free and easily accessible inquiry based lesson units.

Melissa Solis, Social Studies Specialist in Austin, Texas, was recently introduced to the REACH resources at the REACH exhibit during the 103rd National Council for the Social Studies annual conference held at the end of 2023 in Nashville, TN, USA. She shared that finding REACH at the conference was invaluable, “As an educator, I’m constantly seeking ways to emphasize the interdisciplinary essence of social studies. The resources provided by IEEE REACH are not just ready to implement, but they also empower students to cultivate connections through inquiry, thereby transforming learning into a dynamic and enriching experience…It (REACH) aligns perfectly with our goal of enhancing students’ conceptual understanding of the interconnectedness of our world.”

In March 2024, at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s (ITEEA) annual conference, Kelly McKenna, IEEE REACH Senior Program Manager and Tony Maccarella, IEEE REACH Education Consultant, presented an interactive session featuring the Skyscraper Inquiry Unit, one of REACH’s ten available units. STEM educators had the opportunity to participate in a REACH hands-on activity and experienced REACH content for the first time. Exploring the rise of the skyscraper in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, participants learned how humans have tried to build toward the sky since the days of the pyramids, and discovered how the trend exploded in the modern period in conjunction with urbanization, industrialization, and accelerated population growth. Through the lens of history, the educators in attendance explored the social influences on the origins of the skyscraper, as well as its subsequent impact on society.  In addition, participants learned how the development of numerous modern technologies—from elevators to HVAC to structural engineering—were also connected to the skyscraper.  

At the end of the session the feedback from educators was overwhelmingly positive.  A technology educator from New Jersey declared, “Great free resources!” And a Computer Science teacher from Georgia exclaimed, “The resources and the hands-on-activity are great!” Both appreciate the benefit the multifaceted REACH resources provide for real world learning.

Teachers at the ITEEA annual conference try the Skyscraper hands-on activity which challenges students to design and build a structure as tall as possible using the supplies provided.

Howard Ginsburg, K-12 Integrative STEM Specialist, with the NC Department of Public Instruction shared similar sentiments when he first learned about the REACH program, “These free resources are quite impressive!  They have such depth, organization, and opportunity for teachers to find engaging ways to integrate content in their classrooms.”  

About REACH

IEEE REACH, a program of the IEEE History Center, delivers free, interdisciplinary curriculum resources that help pre-university educators teach technological literacy through STEM and social studies education. The resources include: ten Inquiry Units which are inquiry designed lesson plans based on the C3 (College, Career, Civics) Framework, Primary and Secondary sources, Hands-on-activities, Multimedia sources (video and audio), background information for teachers, and additional resources. Explore all the resources REACH has to offer by visiting the website at reach.ieee.org.

Excited to help bridge the technological literacy gap by bringing the history of technology alive in the classroom? IEEE REACH is a donor-supported program. To learn more or to make a donation, please contact Danny DeLiberato, CFRE at d.deliberato@ieee.org or call +1 732 562 5446 or make a gift online.

Header Image photo caption: Teachers discover IEEE REACH at the 103rd National Council for for the Social Studies’ Annual Conference 

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