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College of Human Sciences

Another Advancement In

STEM Education Iowa State University informing decision-makers about research in Science–Technology–Engineering–Mathematics Education

I-Teach course gives STEM students exposure to teaching, instruction According to Barbara Dougherty, to grow STEM-minded students, you need STEM-minded educators. And she’s leading efforts at Iowa State University to plant a crop of young, intelligent, and passionate STEM experts in the education profession. Dougherty, professor in curriculum and instruction and director of the Center for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (CESMEE), is working with the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP) to expose talented scientists, technology gurus, master mathematicians, and enthusiastic engineers to teaching. The one-credit T-Teach course, funded by IMSEP, allows students in STEM-related majors to explore teaching. Through the semester-long course, students explore different ways to apply their STEM knowledge, hear from STEM professionals-turned-teachers, and visit K-12 classrooms to observe a potential career path. The state’s other two Regents universities also have I-Teach programs. Dougherty said that in one year, enrollment at Iowa State has gone from three students to 23 students. She attributes this exponential growth to better recruiting and strong relationships with STEM faculty and advisors across campus. “The I-Teach course really opens their eyes to a new side of STEM,” Dougherty said. “I think it gives them an appreciation for teaching and a way to apply their knowledge in a different way. The feedback we’ve received gives us indication that we’re on the right path to putting high-quality STEM teachers in the classroom.”

Alex Andreotti, left, I-Teach instructor, shows an Iowa State student how to use math manitpulative teaching tools to explain middle and high school geometry concepts.

Dougherty said that enthusiastic educators can start a cycle of STEM-loving students. Because young scientists, technologists, mathematicians, and engineers possess a true enjoyment for the respective disciplines, when they’re given the opportunity to teach others about them, their zeal – and expertise – is transferred to youth. “That passion comes through in their classroom instruction and the kids pick up on it,” Dougherty said. “Young students need an environment where it’s OK to be curious, to explore a question, and engage in some deep discussions. It’s a positive experience that will propel them to take it to the next level – and perhaps go into a STEM field or STEM education themselves.”

For more information: Read other STEM education stories on the College of Human Sciences web site at

April/May 2010

Another Advancement in STEM Education  

According to Barbara Dougherty, to grow STEM-minded students, you need STEM-minded educators. And she's leading efforts at Iowa State Univer...