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Dr. Mueller looks at connecting PE courses to STEM efforts

Spotlight on SOE faculty and doctoral student research

Headshot of Misti Mueller, Ed.D. [View Image] [View Image]Misti Mueller (Wajciechowski), Ed.D.

The amount of knowledge being generated by VCU School of Education faculty in published research goes beyond merely enhancing the school’s reputation – it is helping to shape the future of education itself. One recent example of this is the study below, co-authored by Misti R. Mueller (Wajciechowski), Ed.D., which looks at connecting physical education curriculum to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.

Summary

Dr. Misti Mueller, assistant professor of health and physical education in the Department of Teaching & Learning, along with co-author Dr. Michael Hemphill of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, explored the ways in which practitioners can connect physical education curriculum to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. One example is the development of a STEM in Sports Day, which introduces kindergarten through sixth grade students to sport-specific technology to spark an interest in STEM-related fields. The annual event attracts over 400 students rotating through 20 STEM and Sport stations. The event also provides professional development opportunities for physical education teachers who are introduced to technologies they can use to reinforce content students learn in math and science classes. In addition, STEM in Sports Day exposes preservice teachers to the facilitation of learning experiences for students and to the possibilities for collaboration across academic disciplines.

Another example of how practitioners connect physical education to the STEM curriculum is VCU’s course on physical education for classroom teachers. Students in this course partner with local elementary schools to develop and implement movement-based STEM lessons that connect classroom content through physical education. The goal of this course is to allow preservice teachers to develop an appreciation for the added value that movement brings to the elementary classroom. Through the integration of physical activities, students receive lessons that reinforce concepts they learn in their different school subjects. The early engagement of classroom teachers to include STEM subject matter in their lessons promotes the development of a more active learning experience for elementary students across all academic disciplines.

Citation

Wajciechowski, M. & Hemphill, M. (2019) STEM and physical education: Making connections for our students, building strength for our profession. Strategies, 32(6), 43-45. DOI: 10.1080/08924562.2019.1658435

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