Two Red Deer public school teachers received a prime minister’s award for using robots and virtual reality to make science and math a fun learning experience.
Grade 5 teachers Colin Christensen and Krista McLean led support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education — known by the acronym STEM — at Don Campbell Elementary.
Christensen and McLean were awarded a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence for their “remarkable achievements in education and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy.”
Not only did the teachers engage their students in geometry, code and problem solving using robots, they introduced video production technology and virtual reality goggles into the classroom.
The two also got their Grade 5 students to build an arcade game that incorporates aspects of the curriculum and helps students understand and use technology.
The teachers coached fellow instructors on the use of these new technologies.
And Christensen and McLean created the Breakout Box Challenge, where students work in teams using reading, digital literacy and numeracy skills to solve puzzles.
They also introduced the HeartMath program to improve students’ mental health: students wear ear clips that monitor their heart rhythms and display that data on their Chromebooks, so they can regulate their emotions and return to a good state of mind for learning.
The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence have honoured elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines since 1994, with more than 1,600 individuals honoured to date.