Teachers prep for science lessons

CENTERVILLE, La. — A training session for 25 fourth-grade teachers from across St. Mary Parish that gave them hands-on experiments integrating math and science, along with the kits to implement the activities in their classrooms, was held Thursday.

A grant up to $125,000 from BP is to pay to train more than 150 south Louisiana fourth- and fifth-grade teachers through the Activities Integrating Math and Science program. St. Mary is among four parishes benefiting from the training.

The grant is not related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, Jason Ryan, a BP spokesman.

Tammy Drexler, St. Mary elementary program manager, said the program gives teachers science activities with math integrated, all of which address state science standards including Common Core State Standards, as well as Next Generation Science Standards and others.

Through the BP grant, teachers each got a kit to re-create the experiments in their own classrooms, Drexler said.

Concepts such as Mirrors that Multiply give students a hands-on experience to teach basic concepts. On Thursday, teachers used a hinged mirror to see how images on a page were distorted as well as using the mirror to assist in measuring angles. Teachers were required to move the mirror to different coordinates on the page and learn how the images became distorted at different angles.

Lynn Carr, the Activities Integrating Math and Science program coordinator, said the program was created in Fresno, Calif., in 1981 “by teachers, for teachers” in an effort to improve teaching and learning.

The hands-on activities “engage students and allow them to take ownership of their learning,” Carr said.

“The AIMS model gives kids a real world experience,” Carr explained.

A news release from BP states the grant is “part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting quality science, technology, engineering and math activities that establish the skills necessary for students to one day enter and succeed in the oil and gas industry and engineering fields.”

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