NY State Awardee’s Teaching Takes Flight with NASA Endeavor

 In pictures-of-practice

Charles Canestaro integrates authentic design challenges in his physics and chemistry courses at Cortland Senior High School in New York. As a participant in graduate level course, Physical Science in Motion, offered by The Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project, Canestaro developed and implemented a lesson on rockets inspired by NASA’s Project Enterprise Activity.

Canestaro is the first recipient of the Glen Schuster Memorial Scholarship, established in honor Glen Schuster, founder of the Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project, who supported the development of thousands of STEM educators nationally throughout his career. Canestaro received funding to participate in the three course Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate program and is on track to earn a certificate in STEM Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in December 2018.

The rocket he is getting ready to launch in the picture was designed and built by students. He presented a scenario, challenging them to design and build the most aerodynamic rocket following specified constraints. Students followed a project schedule, role played tasks within a team, and justified a realistic project budget. Each team designed a rocket to scale, built it, tested it, and calculated terminal velocity to determine drag coefficients. Once launch day arrived, Canestaro’s students were excited and ready for lift off! Through the integration of AP calculus, physics, arts and design, and following NASA’s engineering design process, Canestaro believes he was able to enhance student learning through application of STEM teaching practices.

Canestaro started the program with Methods of STEM Education.  He reflects, “I learned current research and trends in teaching STEM. I was blown away with the projects and discussions each week and came away with so much new knowledge and ideas that I would directly be able to implement in my class.”  After his second course, The “E” in STEM: Meaningful Content for Engineering, he shared, “I not only learned how to incorporate engineering practices in my classroom, I was able to get my hands dirty and participate in numerous projects that incorporated the engineering design process.” Canestaro is current finishing his third course, Physical Science in Motion, selected by him from a suite of options.

Working in an NGSS state, Canestaro is as excited about his experience as his students are about rockets. “The program has supported me immensely in thinking about the NGSS as well as incorporating NASA research into my class. I cannot recommend this program enough to any educator looking to improve their craft, incorporate STEM in their classes, and/or transition their lessons to the new NGSS standards.” Canestaro will complete a STEM Leadership Project, the culmination of the ivy-league certificate program. His collaborative outlook on his profession is clear, “I have shared a ton of what I have learned with colleagues, which in turn has helped their practice. The program has also opened up a wonderful world of inquiry, research, and collaboration that I never knew about, through discussions in the online forums.”

Charles is exactly the type of teacher we hope to support at Endeavor, says Karen Woodruff, Project Director. “He is enthusiastic about STEM and dedicated to learning how to engage students in meaningful analysis of authentic, real-world data. We look forward to welcoming the next awardee of the Glen Schuster Scholarship in December.”

The application window for the 2019 Glen Schuster Memorial Scholarship is October 22 to November 24th. The winner will be announced on December 10th and will participate in the Spring 2019 cohort.