UNM Los Alamos



July 10, 2014

UNM-LA to Host 2014 SORONA Teacher Workshops

The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos is hosting its second SORONA Teacher Workshops in Applied Technologies, July 14-18. The name SORONA is derived from the words Solar, Robotics, and Nanotechnology, which is the focus of the workshops.

SORONA was developed for high school teachers from around Northern New Mexico and is a week long, hands-on learning experience, that explores careers in three rapidly growing disciplines of science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM). This event is based upon work supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1104286.

This year’s workshops are Now You’re in Hot Water!, which explores building solar hot water collectors. Chasing Mega-Bots involves designing, building, and driving large metal robots. And finally, Charge-up Your Teaching with Electronics, which helps teachers understand basic and digital electronics.

UNM-LA Mathematics professor, grant Principal Investigator, and SORONA organizer, Irina Alvestad said, “Professional development activities with this type of technical content are very much needed in our region.”

Alvestad also noted, “The SORONA workshops address this need by providing participants with curriculum and activities that can be implemented at their schools—activities that students actually love! Teachers cannot be expected to teach new STEM topics when they, themselves may not be comfortable with the subject matter.”

Content learned at the SORONA workshops will empower teachers to introduce students to these STEM career options. The workshops focus is on a strong project-based component involving interdisciplinary thematic instruction. Workshop participants will enjoy a variety of hands-on interdisciplinary activities with a focus on STEM and collaborate on how to make these happen in their individual schools.

Participants will explore the STEM components of rapidly emerging technical areas as well as tie-ins to language arts and social studies. SORONA participant teachers, in turn, will be encouraged to present what they have gained in these workshops at their local schools during faculty meetings.

They will be given the tools to form a cadre of teachers to participate in an applied science integrated thematic instruction component as part of their year-long curriculum. This, along with a stronger project-based approach will help solidify an awareness of potential future career pathways for our students.

Participants in the SORONA workshops receive a $500 stipend, reimbursement for lodging, and valuable instructional materials. For more information and to see what participants worked on last year, please visit our website at http://www.appliedtechnologiesunmlosalamos.com/.