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August 28, 2013 — Science teachers from around Wyoming gained valuable insights on incorporating science into their classrooms during recent workshops at the University of Wyoming.
The teachers became the students in the workshops led by UW’s NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Science Posse, a group of UW graduate students whose primary goal is to raise awareness and understanding of science.
Tony Leavitt, NASA education specialist, explained NASA’s opportunities in Wyoming and showed the workshop participants how to explore the agency’s library of lesson plans and activities to promote interest in science. He offered lessons and activities in physics, astronomy, engineering, earth and planetary science, mathematics, rockets and astrobiology.
Workshop sessions related to integrating inquiry-based teaching into curriculum. Participants joined group discussions, took several tours and learned ways to encourage inquiry within students.
Participants praised the opportunity to discuss teaching methods and styles with others. One teacher said, “I liked the fact that I was introduced to a variety of resources which I can access throughout the school year and received information I can take directly to my classroom. Overall a great class.”
Another said, "The course opened my mind to new ideas and ways of teaching. It created enthusiasm to start another school year."
The Wyoming Space Grant Consortium promotes science, math, engineering and technology education from elementary through university levels and offers programs to recruit women, underrepresented minorities and the disabled for careers in these areas.
The Science Posse works to increase public appreciation and awareness of science, improve students' understanding of science, inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and develop and enhance partnerships between UW and the Wyoming energy industry.
Since 2009, more than 100 Wyoming teachers have attended the summer science workshops at UW. Science educators attending this year’s workshop at UW, listed by town, are:
Casper -- ShiAnne Kattner, Natrona County School District/Casper Planetarium; Ellen Parke, Natrona County schools; Guy Sallade, Woods Learning Center; Jodi Shelton and Jennifer Wistisen, the Science Zone; and Michele Wistisen, Casper Planetarium.
Cowley -- Vicki Arnold and Freda Miller, Rocky Mountain Middle High School.
Dubois -- Samantha Schwessinger, Dubois Middle and High School; Diana Shaw, Dubois Elementary School.
Gillette -- Sharon Murphree, Wyoming Virtual Academy.
Green River -- Lark Wittman, Washington Elementary School.
Jackson -- Katherine Brewer, Jackson Hole Middle School.
Lander -- Mary Wellman, Cornerstone Christian School and North Elementary School.
Pine Bluffs -- Rhonda Purdy, Pine Bluffs, Burns, Carpenter and Albin Elementary.
Riverton -- Mary Kellogg, Aspen Park Elementary School.
Rock Springs -- Caroline Wittman, Desert View Elementary School.
Mary Kellogg, a teacher at Riverton’s Aspen Park Elementary, conducts a dry ice experiment during a recent science workshop at the University of Wyoming, sponsored by UW’s NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Science Posse. Teachers learned about a variety of resources they can use to teach science in their classrooms. (Science Posse Photo)