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Library Will Host STEM Event for K-12 Educators

UT Libraries, the East Tennessee STEM Hub, and the Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences are hosting a free half-day event for K-12 educators.

East Tennessee K-12 teachers will learn ways to help students excel in science and mathematics at Big Orange STEM Saturday for Educators September 29 at the John C. Hodges Library. Teachers from participating school districts will receive professional development credit.

Melanie Allen, health sciences librarian at the UT Libraries, will offer a keynote presentation on how makerspaces in educational settings support STEAM research initiatives. (STEAM = STEM + ART.)

Allen also will demonstrate a cutting-edge teaching tool that is part of the UT Libraries’ makerspace: a touch-screen 3D Anatomage Table. The table is equipped with digital cadavers that allow students to visualize thousands of anatomical structures and to perform virtual dissections as they would on a real cadaver.

Breakout sessions at Big Orange STEM Saturday for Educators will include:

  • “3D Printing: Reconceptualizing the Scientific Method.” A 3D printing project can have unforeseen benefits for traditionally underrepresented students in STEM, according to Yolanda Kirkpatrick, who teaches STEM education in UT’s Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.
  • “Prejudiced Polygons.” In Polygon Town, both Triangles and Squares prefer to have neighbors who are similar to themselves. Using fractions and a basic mathematical model, participants will try to make all the citizens of Polygon Town happy. This simple math game illustrates a social phenomenon: how small individual biases against diversity lead to greater segregation in the general population. Anne Ho, a lecturer in mathematics at UT, will lead the game.
  • “All Hands on Math—Building STEM Inquiry through K-12 Mathematics Modeling Activities.” Karen Cheng, a former high school math teacher and current PhD candidate in math education at UT, will introduce entertaining, hands-on exercises to teach mathematical concepts.
  • “Student Thinking in Science and Engineering Using Phenomena K-5.” Andrea Berry, a science and STEM supervisor with the Knox County Schools, will discuss the new science standards and using hands-on, inquiry-based instruction with K-5 students.

Representatives from the various STEM curricula at UT and local STEM-related organizations will be on hand to answer questions.

Big Orange STEM Saturday for Educators is funded, in part, by a grant from the UT Office of Research and Engagement.

For more information, visit the event website.


Thura Mack, UT Libraries (865-974-6381,
Lynn Hodge, Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences (865-974-8778,

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