Optics Kits for Science Teachers
Science teachers attending a workshop in March 2012 also went back to their classrooms with optic kits developed at the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at the University of Arizona. The day-long Optics Kits for Science Teachers Workshop was held at the University of California, San Diego where the kits were presented to seven teachers from elementary, middle and high schools, who also gained hands-on experience so they can make their own lens and prisms to take back to their classrooms.
The programs expanded CIAN’s outreach to teachers beyond its Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program and served as a pilot for potentially larger workshops in the future for science teachers.
Both presenters and the participants felt it was a valuable experience. The comments on the feedback form of one science teacher included: “…lots of good ideas…I foresee myself using many of the demos and problem based learning workshops to teach various aspect of optics…I would recommend this workshop to my colleagues to gain a better understanding of various ways to learn and teach optics.” Another science teacher wrote: “After the research presentation for the group of teachers I was reminded of the fun I had while performing research at CIAN…I walked away with a wealth of information and insight from the research…thanks to CIAN who really made the experience a pleasant one.”
The goal for the workshop included replicating the optics kits that CIAN RET teachers had developed during the past summers. RET alumni presented their optics kits to the participants while members of CIAN SLC, CIAN graduate students and staff led the hands-on sessions and offered various demonstrations of how the optics kits can be used for K-12 instruction.