By 2018, 8.6 million STEM-related jobs will be created. Within the next decade, that number will only increase. To better prepare students for the workforce of the future, we're focused on providing them with the training, knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in various STEM careers. But that is only part of the equation. In order to successfully educate our students, we must effectively teach our teachers, providing them with the best resources to deliver high quality STEM experiences in their classrooms. Enter TGR EDU: Create's STEM Studio.

Piloted last summer, STEM Studio -- a program designed to engage educators in effective instructional strategies and emerging technology tools -- will help teachers gain content expertise and confidence with STEM instruction. Last week, our TGR Learning Lab classrooms were buzzing with middle and high school teachers participating in STEM Studio's one-day STEM seminar. With support from Kaiser Permanente Orange County, seminar workshops blended pedagogy with project-based lessons, allowing teachers to take on the role of the students. 

Six different workshops throughout the day had teachers immersed in an array of STEM fields, from computer science and microscopy to engineering and biology. Here's a snapshot of how our educators spent the day at STEM Seminar: 

Class Hack: Participants in this worksop learned how to turn a smartphone or tablet into a powerful microscope -- a tool used in numerous professions such as engineering, law enforcement, science and medicine. 

Physical Computing with the Raspberry Pi: In this hands-on workshop, participants learned how to use a breadboard to interact with the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost computer, to test out circuitry experiments through programming. In an increasingly digital world, this class helps demystify digital making and computing. 

Robotic Arm Challenge: In this activity, engineering and imagination came together. Inspired by entrepreneurial engineers who use open source designs to fabricate robotic prosthetics that are less expensive and more effective, our teachers set out to design and create their own prosthetic hand. 

Squid Exploration: Teachers explored the anatomy and adaptations of a squid, and applied it to how researchers can investigate and quantify the current status of species populations in the wild. 

Innovative Packaging Design: Our teachers assumed the role of packaging engineers in this workshop, creating precise boxes through investigation, design and construction with a BoxMaker tool. They also learned how to develop equations to find measurements for volume and surface area through manipulation of geometric nets. 

Coding With Sphero: Sphero, an engine-powered robotic ball, had participants practicing some basic computer programming concepts. Through the art of coding, teachers were able to compete in a classroom Sphero challenge. 

At the end of every STEM Studio session, it's our hope that we've sent passionate educators off with new resources, tools and ideas to share and implement with their middle and high school students. 

Learn more about STEM Studio.

Champions of the unexpected.