A message from our member, Hy D. Tran, PhD, PE:


Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite Albuquerque engineers and scientists to participate in the 2017 STEM Symposium, a K-12 teacher professional development conference sponsored by the Math & Science Bureau  of the New Mexico Public Education Department (MSB, NM PED: http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/MathandScience_Index.html).

This event typically occurs in early June, and brings together K-12 math and science teachers from all over New Mexico to look for ways to more effectively teach math, science, engineering, and technology (STEM).

The math and science outcomes for K-12 education in New Mexico, on average, have been poor. The science standards currently in use date from 2003—consider that this is before the iPhone! NM PED is recommending changing the science standards to an integrated standard that includes inquiry-based teaching, engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. A major component of NM PED’s plans is greater professional development for the K-12 teachers in science and engineering content.

What better source for content than us, the professional scientists and engineers in New Mexico?

We are working with volunteer science and engineering professionals to develop a short workshop (say 90 minutes) in collaboration with K-12 science/math teachers, with these goals:

  • Content aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, see nextgenscience.org)
  • Content involving crosscutting engineering science practices, appropriate to the student groups (elementary, middle, high school)
  • A scalable curriculum that teachers who attend can not only teach, but  can also use easily to train other teachers at their home schools

Why should we, the professional engineers and scientists in New Mexico do this?

  • This is important to society. Well educated populations, whose education includes STEM topics and engineering practices, whether or not they pursue a science or engineering career, are good for all of us.
  • Teachers are a great leveraging entry point. While many of us enjoy volunteering in classrooms, helping teachers has much greater impact in addressing a larger population.
  • You get to work with engineers and scientists in other disciplines.
  • You get to exercise your creativity and skills! This should be a really fun activity!

We are already making progress !!

Our proposed workshop about measuring chocolate strength. Yes, chocolate. The premise is that we can teach valuable engineering lessons while having fun and using readily available resources. Yes, it also a good excuse to have chocolate. We will be posting our progress and our participation at the STEM symposium. There may be meetings where you can come and help us making this a great workshop. Please stay tuned.

Here are some pictures of our experiments:

Setting up the experiment. The objective is to find out how what it takes to brake the chocolate bar.

Measuring things before pieces of chocolate fly across the room. Note the different orientation of the chocolate bar. Engineering takes trying different configurations of your experiment.

Trying the setup. But you need to come back to see what happens…

If you want to help and participate at the workshop, please contact Dr. Tran at hdtran@sandia.gov

See you there,

Gilberto (Albuquerque Section Treasurer).