ERC Distributes Hands-on Science Kits to Over a Hundred Middle-School Teachers
Through a group effort by teachers, students, and staff from the Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology (EUV ERC), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center headquartered at Colorado State University, hands-on science kits have been personally distributed to over a hundred middle-school teachers across Colorado and California in the past 10 years. This effort was aided by resources from the NSF and, in 2011 and 2012, from Xcel Energy.
The kits contain enough equipment and reusable materials for teachers to lead classes of up to 32 students through inquiry-based activities using suggested lessons on phenomena related to the science of light. Kits are shared by other teachers in the school and since they can be used every year, thousands of students have participated in these activities!
The kits are affectionately called “OWL” because the activities address the physical science education standards in Optics, Waves, and Light. The EUV ERC Education Director, Dr. Kaarin Goncz, personally delivers kits to teachers. To do this she has traveled to the southeast corner of Colorado (Cortez) and urban areas in California (Oakland). Dr. Goncz leads a workshop for the science teachers at the school so that the teachers become familiar with the content and procedures of the activities. Students are encouraged to attend these workshops as this facilitates the teacher’s understanding of how students interact with the materials (See Figure 1.). She stays in contact with the teachers over the school year to provide assistance and get feedback so that the kits can be continuously improved.