Peggy Kelly with students at the Kansas City Invention Convention

Kansas City Invention Convention Teacher Spotlight: Peggy Kelly

Peggy Kelly is the Enrichment Coordinator at the John Paul II Catholic School in Overland Park, KS. We first met Peggy when she signed up to use the Kansas City Invention Convention classroom curriculum as an educator. After the excitement of last month’s showcase, where Peggy had three students compete, we caught up with Peggy to learn more about her and what led her to a career as an educator.

Why did you become a teacher?

I wanted to become a teacher because of the struggles and success I had in education. I wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to grow in their learning.

What did you find most helpful about the KCIC curriculum?

I found the KCIC curriculum helpful by giving me a direction to go – it all seemed so overwhelming at first, but then I got lesson plans and a schedule of what to present and when – it all seemed to fall in place!

What is STEM in the classroom important to you?

I feel like STEM is important in the classroom because of all the hands-on opportunities with real world problems – kids love it. I like how STEM helps me hit multiple standards or skills at the same time.

How do you get students excited about STEM?

One of the ways I am able to get students excited about STEM is to present it in a competition, or a problem format that is in dire need of a solution. I always have some type of “hook” to get the students’ attention, and we go from there. More times than not, it gets their attention!

Teacher Peggy Kelly and students touring Hammerspace.

Peggy Kelly and students touring Hammerspace Workshop during a KCIC inventor workshop.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be working at a museum in the “education” department, or in a public library involved in their outreach programs. I love research and learning!

In her role as the Enrichment Coordinator, Peggy leads the development of STEM activities for grades K-8 that promote communication, creativity, and collaboration skills. She is also responsible for providing enrichment and challenges for students in Tier 1 of academics. These are students who have mastered standards and are ready to move on to the next level. Her goal is to make sure students are given opportunities to accelerate in their academic career through activities such as Engineering Challenges and after school clubs such as Quiz Bowl, Coding, etc.