Western Mass. Teachers Explore Engineering Concepts for the Classroom at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – Twenty-five teachers from Springfield and Holyoke are learning about the engineering behind the structure of bridges, transportation safety, water quality and other concepts through a course being held July 10-14 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Titled “Civil and Environmental Engineering in Our World,” the course is taught by the civil and environmental engineering department at the Engineering Student Center in Marcus Hall.

The course includes a tour of the Human Performance Laboratory with its state-of-the-art driving simulator on Thursday, July 13 at 3 p.m.

UMass Amherst created the three-credit graduate course at the request of Erline Provost, science director for the Springfield Public Schools. Its purpose is to orient elementary, middle and high school teachers to engineering concepts that they can introduce to their own classes. Deepening the teachers’ knowledge of science and engineering concepts should aid them in developing hands-on classroom activities related to the Massachusetts Engineering/Technology curriculum frameworks.

The course includes the following areas of focus: engineering design and systems; the structure of bridges; water quality; transportation safety and construction materials, methods and technologies.

Four faculty members from the department of civil and environmental engineering are teaching the course: Alan Lutenegger, Sergio Brena, Sarina Ergas and Mike Knodler. Chris Emery, an adjunct lecturer in the UMass Amherst School of Education, is also teaching.

The course includes a follow-up session for the teachers on Nov. 4.