Millersville senior Kristen Sweet recently experienced a windfall of success. She designed a lesson plan for 3rd to 5th grade students that won big at the 2020 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s (ITEEA) Lesson Plan Competition. The focus of her award-winning lesson plan is to teach students about windmills and how they produce electricity and wind power.
The ITEEA competition allows students and current teachers to submit their best lesson plans for in-school or at-home teaching. Winners are selected at the elementary, middle, high school and university STEM levels. The winner of the competition was awarded a free one-year ITEEA membership and a $50-dollar Amazon gift card.
Sweet initially learned about the competition through her STEM professor at Millersville, Dr. Sharon Brusic and she submitted a lesson plan that she created for Dr. Charlton Wolfgang’s children’s engineering course.
The goal of her lesson plan was to teach students about the importance of windmills as an energy source and to have students use the engineering design process to create their own windmills.
“To introduce the content to the students, a teacher begins the lesson by reading “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba. To complete the lesson, students participate in a design challenge. The students are instructed to design and build windmills according to specified criteria and constraints,” explains Sweet.
The learning objective of her plan included allowing students to use the engineering design process to create a prototype while sticking to specific criteria, being able to test the prototype and evaluate results and being able to compare their prototypes with a windmill designed according to instructions in a group discussion.
“At first, I was shocked when I found out I won the competition. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to win because I was competing against veteran teachers who have more experience writing lesson plans,” says Sweet. “Once I got over the shock, it felt amazing. Being the winner of the ITEEA Lesson Plan Competition proves my hard-work and dedication to my education career have paid off.”
Sweet says her Millersville University education contributed to the success with her lesson plan. In addition to her Early Childhood and Special Education dual major, Sweet also has an Integrative STEM Education Methods (ISEM) minor.
“I have had access to multiple professional development opportunities through the Integrative STEM Education Methods minor at Millersville. These opportunities have strengthened my knowledge and ability to apply concepts related to STEM education. I’ve learned how to construct lesson plans through many of my education and STEM courses. My children’s engineering course contributed to my success because the lesson plan I submitted was a class assignment I completed. I would like to thank two of my professors for their encouragement and support, Dr. Charlton Wolfgang and Dr. Sharon Brusic.”
Along with her course work, Sweet is also a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, the secretary for the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, the treasurer of Delta Phi Eta Academic Co-Ed Honors Fraternity, the treasurer of the PA Association of Educational Communications and Technology, a member of Study Buddies, a member of Student Pennsylvania State Education Association and the treasurer of the Early Childhood Organization.
“Take advantage of every opportunity thrown at you,” says Sweet. “You’ll never know what you’ll learn or where it can lead you unless you give it a try.”
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One reply on “MU Senior Wins Big at Educator’s Competition”
A huge congratulations to Kristen Sweet and to her mentors Drs. Brusic and Wolfgang. This idea was outstanding and merited recognition. Good on MU for leading by example in the STEM and ISEM educational communities.