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Published September 25, 2018
This time next year, students currently in University of Wyoming School of Teacher Education Associate Professor Andrea Burrows’ “Science Methods II” course will be leading their own secondary science classes in schools throughout Wyoming and the country. Luckily for them, UW offers many opportunities to work with K-12 students during their coursework.
On Sept. 18, the UW College of Education students worked with 42 middle school students from the UW Lab School as they learned the value of interactive learning centers.
“We have been studying science misconceptions, so they needed to pick a misconception and create a learning center that would help students work through the concept behind that topic and address that misconception,” Burrows says.
The interactive learning centers they created also incorporated Next Generation and Wyoming state science standards, which include not only content but also cross-cutting concepts and science/engineering practices. A learning center generally involves a graphic posterboard with information and steps, and an accompanying hands-on activity.
The interaction with middle school students helped the future teachers see what works and what doesn’t in a learning center. Rylee Vandervoort, of Casper, realized her learning center, which focused on chemical reactions, needed more step-by-step instructions. She hopes to teach upper-level high school students in the future and could see using learning centers as a review at the beginning of the school year.
Fellow UW student Tom Eisenhauer, of Torrington, enjoyed his time with the middle school students. “They’re fun because they’re all different. They all come at it from a different perspective,” he says.
Eisenhauer’s learning center focused on substances, chemical reactions and conservation of matter, including how rockets produce water as rocket fuel waste.
“Most people have a misconception that waste is bad,” he says. “There are good wastes, and there are good ways of recycling.”
Torin Mann, of Cross Plains, Wis., focused his learning center on the weathering of rocks. “It’s been great. They are super enthusiastic,” he says of the Lab School students.
Mann plans to use learning centers in his future grade 6-12 teaching career.
“I think learning centers are a good way to get students interested right away,” he says. “The kids are learning hands-on.”
“Having the Lab School on campus is fantastic,” Burrows says. “The teachers at the Lab School are just phenomenal. They are willing to let our students come into their classes, and they’re willing to bring their classes to the Education Annex.”
UW’s Lab School is now in its 131st year, and Burrows says the integration between the College of Education students and Lab School students benefits both.
To learn more about the College of Education, visit www.uwyo.edu/education.
Here are the students in this semester’s “Science Methods II” course, listed by hometown:
Cagliari, Italy -- Fabrizio Ladu.
Carson City, Nev. -- Nycole Marsh.
Casper -- Mick Novotny and Rylee Vandervoort.
Cheyenne -- Gabriele Kramer and Gemma Szott.
Cross Plains, Wis. -- Torin Mann.
East Troy, Wis. -- Bailee Brietzman.
Flagstaff, Ariz. -- Ryan Phillips.
Jackson -- Lena Rossolo.
Peru, Ind. -- Cody Minns.
Torrington -- Tom Eisenhauer.