Third grade gifted teacher Nancy Bourne of Beacon Cove Intermediate has been named the 2012 Florida Engineering Society (FES) K-12 Teacher of the Year for Engineering. The award will be presented on Friday, August 10, 2012 in Orlando at the FES Annual Summer Conference. Mrs. Bourne and her school will be presented with $500 checks to support future K-12 efforts.
James J. Kunard, Chairman K-12 Committee, Florida Engineering Society, Palm Beach Chapter and Director of Facilities Services for the School District wrote in his nomination letter, “Mrs. Bourne demonstrates outstanding personal commitment and exemplary professional achievements in promoting engineering and technology into her daily classroom activities. In addition, in the fall of 2011, Mrs. Bourne founded Beacon Cove Intermediate’s groundbreaking elementary STEM club, further promoting enthusiasm for the sciences across the entire student body.
He went on to write, “Mrs. Bourne is a highly energetic and passionate math and science teacher, who consistently strives to instill critical, “out of the box” thinking skills in her students. She wholeheartedly believes that learning should be fun, and as a matter of practice, uses teaching methods that emphasize real life applications of engineering and technology concepts. Her highly effective teaching skills afford her opportunities to use extra class time to conduct fun engineering activities, engaging children at a higher thinking level and promoting the lifelong value of teamwork.”
Some recent examples of Mrs. Bourne’s classroom activities have included:
Boat building: Students used a ration of foil to create floating vessels, with an emphasis on altering shape and dimension to achieve the desired outcome.
Tower construction: Students were challenged to build the tallest tower using only paper and clips.
Measurement: A hands-on exercise designed to optimize object measurement through use of appropriate tools (e.g. trundle wheels, yardsticks, and rulers).
Simulated computer labs: Virtual lessons on temperature, measurement and scientific method.
Hurricane Test Lab: Mrs. Bourne organized an event for all 120 third grade gifted students – small groups were given a ruler, 6 pieces of paper, and 10 cm of tape and then challenged to build a structure to withstand the weight of a hard cover dictionary for 60 seconds; many succeeded.
Mrs. Bourne’s love of teaching engineering concepts extends beyond the classroom. Her STEM Club initiative this year resulted in nearly 150 grade 3-5 students applying for just 30 spaces. Also, through her promotion of STEM education, she successfully fostered new partnerships with local scientific business and research entities, including Florida Power & Light (FPL), the Scripps Research Institute, and the Arthur Marshall Foundation. As a result, despite extremely limited availability of educational resources and guidance for elementary level STEM activities, she successfully developed a top-notch schedule of well thought-out monthly club activities.
Mrs. Bourne’s success in applying creative teaching methods in engineering and technology is evident, and can be measured not only by the superior academic performance of her students, but even more notably by their optimism and positive attitudes about learning.
For more information please contact Beacon Cove Intermediate Principal Una Hukill at 561-366-6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org .