College hosts third annual math and science academy for educators

Over the next two weeks, more than 50 local math and science teachers will converge onto Marietta College’s campus to learn more effective ways to teach math and science to children.

Starting June 21 and lasting through July 1, kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers from throughout Southeastern Ohio will participate in the Summer Institute portion of The Academy for Excellence in Math and Science Education. For the third year, Marietta College is hosting the three-term program.

“This year’s focus will be on strategies and methods for teaching mathematics to students,” said Elaine O’Rourke, Academy Director.

Participating teachers began applying for the academy in January. The first part of the program took place during a full-day orientation on April 17. The second part is the Summer Institute, which will last for the next nine days. Additionally, they must complete four full-day follow up sessions during the 2010-11 academic year in order to receive the six graduate credits.

During the summer session, the goal is to improve the teaching of mathematics and science, which in turn should lead to improved student learning.

“On four of the afternoons, students from the Betsey Mills Club camp, Ely Chapman Center, and the local Boys & Girls Club come to the classroom and the teachers get to teach their newly developed lessons,” O’Rourke said.

Afterwards, the teachers critique the lesson and how it was taught. “When the lesson is brought back to their specific classrooms, it will be perfected,” O’Rourke said.

The K-2 group will be learning how to integrate math with space and earth science. The participants will be concentrating on the standards numbers and number sense and problem solving. They will learn how to use planetarium programs on space and weather and how to set up the portable planetarium. They will have the College’s portable planetarium visit their schools sometime during the coming school year. As part of the summer program, the participants will be developing lesson plans that integrate the math and science and can be used in conjunction with the planetarium visit.

The grades 3-8 group will be learning about computational thinking and how it relates to mathematics. They will learn how to integrate computational thinking into mathematics. As part of their program they will learn how to use the ALICE animation software program and how the program can be used to develop critical thinking skills. The lessons they develop with include these skills.

The Academy for Excellence in Math and Science Education is funded by an Improving Teaching Quality Grant and administered by the Ohio Board of Regents.