Saranii Muller in Her Own Words

Fort Greene Preparatory Academy Teacher Talks About Her Experience with K-12 STEM Education

I’ve been teaching technology at Fort Greene Preparatory Academy since the school opened more than four years ago, and I’ve been working with the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Center for K-12 STEM Education for almost that long. As part of the AMPS/CBSI program, I had a terrific graduate fellow in my classroom for two years, James Muldoon, an electrical engineer, and this year my fellow is Matthew Moorhead, a mechanical engineer.

It’s a good situation for everyone involved. The fellows bring great expertise in their specific fields, and as I learn from them, my curriculum grows. In addition to robotics, we now program with Python, design computer games, work with Arduinos, and much more. In turn, the fellows learn from my pedagogical approach; they develop the ability to explain their work to laypeople and get comfortable addressing a class.
Most important, they really get the kids excited about the practical applications of STEM and the career possibilities. My students might never have met an engineer before, so the fellows are living answers to that common question, “Why do we have to study this stuff?”

Fort Greene Preparatory Academy was founded on the belief that children should have access to a well-rounded education, and what I teach is an important part of that. It really opens the kids’ eyes when they start out the year thinking they know all about technology simply because they can operate their smartphones and then they realize how much there is to learn!