Detroit Public School Mathematics Teachers Trained on STEM Curriculum, With General Motors Foundation Support

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SAE Foundation-Developed Curriculum Elevates Learning in STEM Related Fields

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It is exciting to see more classrooms partner with SAE Foundation to use the AWIM curriculum and get young students interested in the STEM fields early on. - Chris Ciuca, Director of SAE Pre-Professional Programs

The SAE Foundation recently conducted a training in partnership with the Office of Mathematics Education for 120 mathematics teachers and staff of the Detroit Public School (DPS) system about the organization’s award-winning classroom curriculum, A World in Motion® (AWIM). This opportunity is a direct result of funding made available by the General Motors Foundation.

The teachers were trained on three different AWIM challenges, including Gravity Cruiser, Glider and Motorized Toy Car. The lesson plans and challenges of AWIM bring together teachers, students and industry volunteers to introduce K – 8 students to and explore the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“It is exciting to see more classrooms partner with SAE Foundation to use the AWIM curriculum and get young students interested in the STEM fields early on,” said Chris Ciuca, director of SAE Pre-Professional Programs. “Support from the GM Foundation facilitates these positive impacts of this program, which have been proven to increase students’ interest and participation in STEM fields over time. It was great to see the teachers come out of this training inspired to challenge the next generation of our nation’s engineering leaders.”

Thanks in part to funding from the GM Foundation, teachers around the nation have been trained on AWIM and more than 4M students have been reached. The program was developed more than 20 years ago and provides a problem-solving context in which students design a product or devise a solution to a problem using critical thinking, project management, inquiry and analysis, teamwork and collaboration and engineering design.

“Education is a significant focus area for the GM Foundation and the AWIM curriculum is a fun, interactive program that excites and prepares the next generation of leaders and innovators,” said Karen Nicklin, Manager of Educational Initiatives, GM Foundation. “General Motors and the GM Foundation have been long time supporters of the SAE Foundation and its key initiative to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM.”

“The Office of Mathematics Education promotes the integration of the AWIM curriculum, in order to make the cross-curricular connections between mathematics, science, and technology,” said Irene Nordé, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Office of Mathematics Education.

Other challenges of the AWIM program include the Skimmer Challenge, JetToy Challenge and Fuel Cell Challenge. During this session, teachers were trained on the Gravity Cruiser Challenge, where students were introduced to critical thinking and the experimental method to solve an engineering program, the Motorized Toy Car Challenge, where students discover force and friction with simple machines, levers and gears and core concepts, and the Glider Challenge, where students learn the importance of consumer demands, data analysis and variables.

“We all found these challenges to be an interactive and fun way to get a deeper understanding of mathematics, science and technology,” said Yolanda Bean, DPS Mathematics Teacher. “As our nation is facing a lack of excitement in STEM education, it is rewarding to see the partnership between the SAE Foundation and the Office of Mathematics Education for this effective program.”


About AWIM
SAE International's A World In Motion® (AWIM) is a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to life in the classroom for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Benchmarked to the national standards, AWIM incorporates the laws of physics, motion, flight and electronics into age-appropriate hands on activities that reinforce classroom STEM curriculum. To learn more about AWIM, visit

About the General Motors Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit
About SAE Foundation

The SAE Foundation is the charitable arm of SAE International that strives to encourage and increase student participation and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math through educational programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. SAE International is a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and voluntary consensus standards development. To learn more, visit

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Shawn Andreassi
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