My teaching has greatly changed and I have incorporated many of the elements of STEM for the benefit of my students

Erick Sánchez Mexico, 2015

Workshop for STEM Instructors Testimonials

Alejandra Vidales
Uruguay, 2017

Alejandra Vidales The experience lived at the Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors last August was without a doubt one of the most significant experiences in my personal life and professional career. Having the opportunity to visit laboratories such as Illumina and Johnson & Johnson, as well as companies like Qualcomm, who welcomed us and dazzled us with their work, was life changing. Receiving feedback from such outstanding professionals who shared their experiences and knowledge with us, made that intense week one that will mark me forever. The simplicity, warmth, and commitment of all those involved in the STEM Workshop made me see that you can change the way you teach and make new generations “live” science as something they can do, rather than a mere transmission of content.

I believe that the biggest change occurred in my perspective. I rethought the process and content of lesson plans and turned them into attractive challenges so that students both understand and get excited. The activities had to allow them to position themselves in a scientific role. From the first minute of listening to the speakers of the workshops, many ideas began to emerge about how to implement different activities in the classroom. These ideas were not only important for my classroom, but to share with other teachers in my department and from my country, in order to achieve more meaningful learning.

This quarter, after my attendance at the workshop, the most frequent change I have implemented has been a transition in the type of question and my way of asking. Targeting the student so that they substantiate their answers and achieve that important step towards understanding has led to propose activities where students solve situations and explain their way of solving.

Lucia Margni
Uruguay 2017

It was a very enriching experience which allowed for a transformational growth at a personal and professional level. The five days of the Workshop were intense and very productive days where methodologies that encourage active learning were developed with presentations and debates on current issues, experimental activities, laboratory practice, and problem solving situations that allowed for the development of skills and teamwork. In addition to this, educational visits to different companies such as Illumina, Qualcomm, and Johnson & Johnson, further enriched the workshop for me as an instructor.

The experience showed me how important it is to inspire and motivate students on STEM issues in order to form the next generation of scientists. With the teacher always as a guide, the work in the classroom gives students the possibility to learn and investigate the world around them, in which they are immersed, and thus analyze the different issues that arise. This will allow them to contribute in the future towards the development of scientific and technological research, becoming competent and active members of society, and improving competitiveness in the country's technological development.

The workshop allowed me to incorporate new teaching strategies and acquire new motivational teaching methods focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Consolidating the transversal idea of the entire STEM workshop, it focuses on the importance of the student being the true leader of their learning in order to build their own knowledge and develop skills necessary to apply in different scenarios and situations to meet the challenges of today. In accordance with the skills of the 21st century, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, written and oral competency and empathy, these individuals will feel closer and closer to science, which can consolidate their potential path as future scientists.

I believe it is necessary and essential to offer our students the knowledge and tools necessary to become active participants in this technological and scientific society from an early age. This has grown and advanced rapidly in recent years, generating the interest and strengthening their understanding of current issues that directly affect their lives and their social development.

New curriculum was created in order to integrate the following disciplines into the activities: science, technology, mathematics and engineering. For this, the proposal took into account the characteristics of the students and their context. Activities were elaborated that promote the development of techniques for active learning, continuous development of creativity, investigation, and experimentation. Work outside and inside the laboratory has been implemented. These activities, carried out in both group and individual work, allow each student to discover their potential and generate the development of skills and tools necessary to solve problems that arise in daily life. This increases motivation, self-esteem and expectations of success. Some of the proposed new activities were the creation of interactive games using electrical circuits, board games using the themes worked on in the year.

Also, the realization of models on the energy resources used in our country in an interactive way, even the use and creation of simulators, and the designing and elaboration of cars in which they can apply concepts and physical laws.

Robert Alvez
Uruguay, 2016

Robert Alvez The Workshop was a very rewarding experience. It gave me the opportunity to discover new places, customs, and meet other professionals.

This opportunity, in addition to gaining valuable professional growth, also gave me tools for personal growth. Interacting with other professionals allowed me, among other things, to know my strengths and weaknesses.

Sharing with colleagues from other countries and professionals gave me valuable tools to improve educational practices in seeking to awaken the motivation of the students through the incorporation of new innovative teaching techniques in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
One of the tools from the workshop that I have implemented in my Physics classes is to assign research projects. Starting from the interests of the students, they design research projects related to their environment.

These projects generally have an interdisciplinary approach. Teachers work collaboratively, guiding and motivating students to successfully create and present their research projects.

Ultimately, their projects are shared with the community in exhibitions, in which various educational organizations participate.

In addition, we provide the opportunity to network with other educational organizations, exchanging projects through video conferences.

Fabiana Aquino
Uruguay, 2016

Fabiana Aquino In 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in the Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors, which was a very rewarding experience and introduced a variety of new knowledge. It not only allowed me to interact with teachers from other countries and work with them to solve challenges in the different areas of study like physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and robotics, but also understand the realities we face and different methods of teaching in Latin America by sharing lived experiences in the field of education.

After participating in the Workshop, a Task Team was created, made up of the three representatives from Uruguay, with the excitement of replicating the lessons learned and instructing teachers on educational practices that can be developed in an interdisciplinary and creative way. We elaborated a plan with a sequence of activities that we carried out in different public and private institutions throughout Uruguay. This initiative emphasized the importance of technical training in the STEM areas. Its purpose was to contribute to the formation of the students of the 21st century, developing and strengthening new skills and abilities, taking into account their different realities and opportunities, so that they can be protagonists of the future.

Currently, I work with my high school students to motivate them and bring them closer to the study of science by carrying out simple experiments using easily accessible home materials that generate curiosity and excitement for learning. Among the proposals, I also work on Project-Based Learning, with the aim of creating a space where students can develop and strengthen procedures and skills to solve problems in their environment that are impacted by Science, Technology and Society.

Raúl Estuardo Muñiz Hernández
Mexico, 2015

PRaúl Estuardo Muñiz Hernándezarticipating in the Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors was a rewarding and enriching experience. The speakers and their strategies were aimed at enhancing critical thinking with this innovative method of teaching called STEM. It was new to me, and it took me some time to understand  at the beginning, but once I grasped the idea, I started seeing it is a very powerful method to teach young adults. It emphasizes the importance of forming conclusions, sharing opinions, and using different social and scientific approaches. All the while, developing character and personal values.

The course made me reflect on my practice as an Instructor.  It showed me the importance of recognizing our environment and the level of education students come from in order to change our form of structured teaching to meet the needs of our community. My director and supervisors valued  the STEM teaching methods so much that I was appointed to coordinate STEAM capacity building workshops for all educators, which also promotes the inclusion of Art.  Working with this methodology since 2016 has given us excellent results as one of the most outstanding high schools within our region.

We allow our students’ imagination to soar when working on projects and we help promote the MAKER movement at our school in the construction of robots where they are applying knowledge of their different subjects (mathematics, physics, English, ethics, reading and writing workshops) and  using the STEAM methodology. All in all, we incorporate teamwork, project skills, gamification, individual development, and pedagogical techniques.

Ernesto Márquez Fragoso
Mexico, 2015

Ernesto Márquez Fragoso My experience attending the Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors was a clear demonstration of how other colleagues in the world have similar experiences in the field and are dedicated to the process of innovating education. The connections, activities, strategies and points of view that we exchanged were something that will last forever in influencing the way I conduct and communicate science. 

The workshop also influenced my way of thinking and inspired my daily motivation. In fact, after the workshop I have had the opportunity on four occasions to visit other participants through diverse activities. This week of experiences has helped plot a new course of action that will continue to foster growth in the work that we do as STEM Instructors for our students.

From my perspective, I have continued to experience a gradual change, strengthened by incorporating interdisciplinary activities, seeking a variety of available technology and resources, confidently executing ideas and projects, and efficiently coordinating different groups of teachers and students to achieve common goals.  I have also helped strengthen critical, respectful, and caring consciences in students and teachers towards people and the environment.

I have uniquely incorporated the tools and topics that I learned in La Jolla within the institution where I work. I have designed and implemented activities related to ocean tides, Mesoamerican geometry, and earth science using new materials, industrial models, etc. Given a wide variety of tools, my mathematics and science classes now have a holistic approach when incorporating new ideas into certain subjects. Overall, I have made things much more fun and interesting for my students, successfully guiding them in the direction of professional scientific career paths.

José Celestino González Barrera
Mexico, 2015

José Celestino González Barrera In all aspects, the experience was unforgettable and enriching. We got to collaborate with teachers from different parts of the world and share with each other the common barriers we experience with each educational system. We found many similarities between us all, opening up a new teaching panorama. I think that filled us with enthusiasm and new expectations to resume our work in the classroom at the end of the workshop.

It was a big change that influenced my expectations as a teacher. It made me prioritize my daily job to awaken interest and creativity in my students, which led to amazing results. The group involvement and comradery with the other participants on multidisciplinary group projects also helped create a more amplified learning experience.

Modifying the instruction by learning new strategies, maintaining the topics as up to date as possible, focusing on the contextualization and necessary meaning to provide students with answers to questions of daily life, and the use of STEAM strategies, has allowed a significant improvement in the students, both in learning, and in increasing approval ratings in different subjects.

José Celestino González Barrera
Mexico, 2015

José Celestino González Barrera t was a marvelous professional experience. I was able to meet colleagues from different countries and share experiences as teachers. It was enriching to know what other educational institutions focus on, specifically with their most successful practices, effective strategies, and methodologies The different activities that we carried out and the variety of speakers that presented also contributed to the pleasant learning experience. In addition, the coexistence between the entire cohort  was fantastic. I have very fond memories of the workshop and the participants.

I believe that it has helped me to continue improving not only in the classroom, but also in my lesson planning process and in the elaboration of didactic sequences that are interesting and awake student curiosity towards science. After participating in the program, I received invitations from the University I work for to develop this type of learning and capacity building for the students.

I have implemented what I learned from the workshop all the way from the shared knowledge between my colleagues, to the knowledge acquired from the speakers. The workshop demonstrated that through simple experiments administered in the classroom, we can engage students in science and fuel a love for it.  I have implemented these experiments and activities and they have produced great results. The students are now more attentive and receptive to the information.

Erick Sánchez
Mexico, 2015

Erick SánchezMy teaching has greatly changed and I have incorporated many of the elements of STEM for the benefit of my students. I am convinced that the sciences must be lived and enjoyed. This is achieved in a very easy way through STEM. I have shared and multiplied these results with my fellow teachers and in this way, these benefits have been able to reach even more students, not just my own.

I have been working on the planning and execution of projects with Roxana Nahuelcura from Chile, who was also a teacher from the STEM workshop cohort in 2015. It is very enriching to meet and work with teachers like Roxana and many others who were with us in the course and feel that there are no geographical barriers when we are united by a desire to support young people and improve education. STEM has been our common language.

Not too long ago, I applied to a contest that was awarding grants for community projects supported by the General Consulate of the United States. I was fortunate to win the grant of $10,000 to carry out a project. The name of the project is: Educational Robotics Laboratory through STEM activities with gender equity, for the 18th High School of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon.

Contact Us

Institute of the Americas
10111 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037 UC San Diego Campus




Institute of the Americas

For over 30 years, the Institute of the Americas has promoted sustainable and inclusive economic growth, productivity, and prosperity in the Americas through public-private sector collaboration, research, training and capacity building.