Tania Bumstead: At the forefront of STEM learning at school and across board

Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Tania Bumstead

Vista Hills Public School
314 Sweet Gale Street
Waterloo, ON N2V 0B3

School telephone: 519-884-4411
School website: https://vis.wrdsb.ca/
Twitter : @TaniaBumstead

Subjects and grades taught: Math and science in Grade 7

Tania Bumstead saw being on the staff of a brand new school as an opportunity to make change and lead the way to 21st century integrated STEM learning. Over two years, she has been at the forefront of developing a culture of innovation, collaboration and communication at the rapidly expanding school.

Teaching approach

An innovative teacher who constantly pushes the boundaries of technology, Tania prioritizes problem solving, reasoning, creativity, risk taking and failure among her students, while also encouraging reflection, resiliency and efficacy every day.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Understands the importance of global connects: launched the Global STEM Learning Hub to link students around the world together to collaborate to solve problems, including developing and sharing original content on video and websites, and through blog posts
  • Developed the STEM-Wellness Makerspace program through which students explore well-being by integrating their school's wellness traits (including optimism and gratitude) in cross-curricular, problem-based projects
  • Connects younger elementary students with their older math buddies to, for example, locate QR codes around the school, scan them and then solve the math problems they present; she also introduces coding and digital math to young students, giving them the chance to become the teachers and mentors

Outstanding achievements

  • Plays a lead role in STEM education in the school (as lead math teacher) and across the board (as science and technology trainer, facilitator for technology-focused summer camp for teachers; and member of team of teachers implementing comprehensive mathematics approach across the board)
  • Organized the first TED Ed event for the school board's elementary grades; students made presentations on current issues; talks were streamed live to the community
  • Leads countless STEM-focused clubs and teams to provide even more learning opportunities for students: Let's Talk Science (competing against other schools in challenges), First Lego League, Coding Club, Woodshop Club, Math Club and Girls in STEM

Rave reviews

"She comprehends the benefits of technology in our classroom to support everyday learning, and she believes there are other ways of learning than sitting at a desk and filling out worksheets."