When Sarah Betlejewski isn’t guiding CK customers through the Delaware and Maryland salt marshes and cypress swamps, she is teaching science to 7th graders at Millsboro Middle School. Recently Sarah (known to her students as Ms. B) won the Delaware Middle School STEM Teacher of the Year Award. She received her award at the Delaware STEM Symposium on Oct. 8th.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. According to Sarah, “STEM focuses on problem-based learning where you take a current, community-based problem and try to create solutions with technology or engineering.”
Not resting with just one award, Sarah’s students are also state finalists for the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow award. Open to public middle and high schools nationwide, the goal for the contest is to integrate the student’s learning with community leader’s feedback to create a solution.
The community-based problem Sarah’s students will solve? Getting rid of the bane of summer-time living in Delaware—ticks. While tick-control methods do already exist, they all contain chemicals that pollute our waterways and are harmful to pets and other beneficial insects. Sarah’s kids are inventing tick traps which will trap the nasty little blood-suckers without killing anything else.
This past summer Sarah attended the first ever STEM Teacher Academy. The event, hosted by Samsung, took place in San Jose, CA and put Sarah in contact with innovators and other teachers passionate about STEM. “This week long conference helped me bring STEM into my class in a more meaningful way,” said Sarah. Currently her students are learning the ins and outs of their 3D printer and Sarah hopes to bring Spheros (robotics technology) into the classroom soon.
On January 8th Samsung will announce the state finalists. If I were a tick, I’d be looking to relocate!