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Middle School Teachers Connect Scientific Research to Student Curriculum

CLASSE and CHESS teamed up with Cornell Physics professor Peter Wittich to host a Physical Science Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers during the summer of 2008. The theme for the week-long institute was “Making Connections: What Science Research and Your Middle School Curriculum Have in Common”.

The Institute provided eleven middle school science teachers from New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens) an opportunity to gain content knowledge aligned with the New York City Middle School Scope and Sequence for Science, NY State Learning Standards, and Core Curriculum for Intermediate Level Science. It also provided teachers with the chance to interact with scientists who are conducting cutting-edge research and allowed participants to learn about state-of-the-art technology in the unique setting of a world-class research university. All participants earned one unit of graduate credit in Physics from Cornell University.

Reported one teacher: “My experience at the Physics Summer Institute was very exciting and informative. The hands-on explanations and the lectures from various experts in the field of physics can assist me in enhancing my knowledge in science as well as in delivering more research-based activities.”

Teacher outreach is an important part of improving the science literacy of students in the United States. Getting and keeping teachers excited about science will help them convey that excitement and enthusiasm to their young students. Being enthusiastic and “unafraid” about science is a strong prerequisite to keeping students interested in pursuing careers and STEM fields.

Read about other program highlights covered in the Cornell News here, or PDF.