Bridgewater State University Professors Conduct their First STEM Promo Project in Tbilisi

Dr. Polina Sabinin from Bridgewater State University (BSU) near Boston, Massachusetts, USA, travelled to Georgia together with her colleague Dr. Niki Glen – Elementary Science Education and their four students on an Undergraduate Research Abroad grant funded by the Shea Foundation at BSU to conduct a project in engineering and math in two Tbilisi schools - Buckswood School and The First Experimental School.

Dr. Sabinin teaches Mathematics Education to future teachers while Dr. Glen teaches Science Education. Together with Ministry of Education representatives they visited Buckswood International School, Tskneti, and the First Experimental School in Saburtalo, grades 4 and 5 for Engineering and for grad 6 for Math. Dr. Sabinin brought mathematical games and Glen delivered a lesson in engineering. The resources they brought were physical which, as Dr. Sabinin told GEORGIA TODAY, complemented the style of the Georgian teachers who they found to be “generally so imaginative and creative and doing amazing things with little funding.”

The funding for this program came from the visitors’ university. Dr. Glen co-created her program with the Boston Museum of Science while Dr. Sabinin curates a Library of Mathematics Games in her department and uses them in classes for current and future teachers and for seminars. The games she brought and left here are called ‘metaphors’ and are designed for kids to learn logic visually. “When using the games, I don’t need to explain anything to the kids but just hand the games out and watch the kids figure it out on their own. Another game I brought is ‘special reasoning,’ where you get pictures of what you have to build and the kids need to build it. My games develop intuition,” she explained.

In addition to this, Dr. Sabinin and Dr. Glen created a blog to connect the Georgian children to American pupils as pen pals. “They send each other messages and the Georgian pupils have a chance to follow what we do,” Dr. Sabinin said.

Next year BSU will be sponsoring a study tour in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Georgia and US Embassy representatives. The course will be designed for students with a focus, again, on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects. In the frames of the next project, BSU representatives plan to travel to IDP settlements and Georgia’s other regions where more help is needed.

“In the US we live a pretty sheltered life and I want those next fifteen students to experience the world outside,” Dr. Sabinin said.

Meri Taliashvili

16 June 2016 18:33