Westfield teachers Cathy Tsai (at left) and Courtney Farruggia, third and fourth grade teachers at Tamaques Elementary School, have a better understanding of what their students will experience when participating in newSTEM design challenge activities. They were among more than 25 elementary teachers from Westfield, Millburn, Summit and West Caldwell who joined together this summer to hone their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teaching skills. As part of ongoing STEM professional development, the Westfield Public School District hosted a two-day workshop based on the newly announced Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 

According to Westfield K-12 Science Supervisor David Stoneback, these standards – recently adopted by the State of New Jersey — are to be implemented in 2017 as part of a revised K-5 science curriculum. Dr. Stoneback also explained that over the course of the school year and into next summer, more professional development will take place.  Enjoying their success in the “marshmallow challenge,” Tsai and Farruggia celebrate the creation they made with just a handful of raw materials provided – e.g., uncooked spaghetti, yarn, and straws – to build the highest structure which would balance the weight of a large marshmallow on top.