EKU Working with Area Middle Schools to Enhance Instruction
EKU faculty and students are teaming with teachers at six area middle schools to enhance inquiry-based instruction in their science, technology and mathematics classes.
A year ago, EKU received a $1.34 million grant from the National Science Foundation, its largest ever from NSF. Schools participating in the project are Clark-Moores Middle School and Madison Middle School in Richmond, Foley Middle School in Berea, Rockcastle County Middle School, Jackson County Middle School and Estill County Middle School.
Twelve student Fellows – eight graduate students and four undergraduates – are each matched with a middle school teacher at one of the participating schools and an EKU faculty mentor. The Fellows spend approximately 10 hours a week in the middle school classrooms implementing inquiry-based activities designed to meet Kentucky and national education standards. The Fellows also assist the teachers in coordinating the purchase of grant-related instructional materials and in locating information, including online resources.
According to Project Director Dr. Tom Otieno, the Fellows first received extensive training to work with middle-school students and on inquiry-based instruction.
The grant has allowed EKU to introduce into the schools technology such as calculator-based laboratories and Lego Mindstorm robots and is funding some academic field trips.
The objective is to make science, mathematics and technology fun for the students and whet their appetite for further study. “If we just lecture, they’ll say science is dull,” Otieno said, “so we do many things that are fun. We are reaching some kids who are beginning to like science.”
The project is the result of a “strong collaborative effort” between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, specifically seven academic departments within the academic colleges: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Curriculum and Instruction, Earth Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Mathematics and Statistics.
Because the EKU faculty and Fellows bring diverse academic backgrounds to the project, networking between the teams is proving beneficial. “We try to work as one family,” Otieno said. “We want every school to benefit from these different strengths.”
Six new Fellows will be needed for the 2004-05 term – four undergraduates and two graduate students. Annual Fellowships are up to $30,000 for graduate students and $10,000 for undergraduates. For more information, contact Otieno at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ismam.eku.edu.