That sincere greeting was conveyed to Arkema plant manager David Price by Blooming Prairie Elementary School third grade teacher Angie Avery.
Avery was one of four teachers participating in the annual Arkema Science Teachers Program workshop at the Arkema plant located on the north side of Blooming Prairie. Arkema is a global chemical company.
Arkema is a designer of materials and innovative solutions. It shapes materials and creates new uses that accelerate customer performance. Arkema's business portfolio spans high-performance materials, industrial specialties and coating solutions.
Reporting annual sales of $7.5 billion in 2016, Arkema employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide and operates in close to 50 countries.
Arkema's Science Teachers Program has been offered by many Arkema sites including the Blooming Prairie plant since 1996. The program has benefited hundred of teachers and thousands of students across the United States, says plant manager Price.
The Arkema program brings life into the classroom. It recognizes providing a strong science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education program.
Each participating teacher in the program selected a science kit that contains teaching aids and tools related to a specific topic. Each kit includes materials and instructions for classroom science demonstrations that engage students and bring concepts to life.
At its Blooming Prairie location on Aug. 7-9, Arkema hosted four teachers: Angie Avery and Chelsea Van Roekel, third grade teachers of Blooming Prairie and Shelly Sipple, fourth grade teacher and Carol Thompson, fifth grade teacher from Alden-Conger.
The teachers partnered with Arkema scientists and engineers to learn innovative ways to teach basic science concepts. Representing Arkema were David Price, Laura Reinke, Ricky Soto and Kyle Snow.
Across the country, 17 Arkema sites hosted nearly 70 teachers, giving priority to applicants from lower income school districts that need the most support.
During the three-day long science camp in Blooming Prairie, Arkema scientists and teachers explored grade-specific, classroom-tested, professionally published hands-on science kits.
Price explained that teachers were able to explore and test the science kits after finding out what was in the content of the kit. All participating teachers were taken on a tour of the plant and
were involved in a question and answer session.
On Tuesday of the program, teachers from Alden-Conger and from Blooming Prairie, showcased their science kits.
Alden-Conger selected Energy as its kit. The kit enables students to study power sources, explained fourth grade teacher Shelly Sipple. Shelly used a flip chart to explain five investigative forms of energy.
Teachers and Arkema scientists teamed up to analyze lighting a light bulb and thus learning more about the meaning of energy. Participants were challenged to predict their outcomes and asked to light the bulb. The challenge was met by each team.
"Teacher, we have some independent thought going on," offered plant manager Price as he observed the interaction of team members during the study of energy.
Blooming Prairie chose Makerspace as an instructional tool to create, explore, engineer, invest and reflect.