Science Express brings new technology, techniques to Lafayette teachers, students

06-17-14

Author(s):Tim Brouk

New science technology and teaching techniques do not take a summer break. They do stop for vacations.

Just a week or two after their respective institutions’ commencements, members of the Purdue College of Science Outreach team spent two weeks at Jefferson High School in Lafayette to introduce new labs, lessons and technology to 21 local teachers.

Towards the end of the workshop, 20 science students from Jefferson were brought in to work in the classes and labs led by these teachers.

Central to each lab were iPads and new software that drove the class time of each two-hour session. The iPads were essential in the work as Jefferson recently committed to become a “one-to-one school,” which means each student will be issued an iPad for their studies. The iPads are set to arrive in 2016.

The teachers were enthusiastic to get their hands on the new technology and equipment, as supplied by the College of Science Outreach initiative Science Express.

Bill Huston, earth science and astronomy teacher at Jefferson, believes getting an early jump on iPad programming for his classes was essential.

“Here’s this tool we can use, let’s apply it,” said Huston, a Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences alumnus.

Another essential aspect to the workshop was the collaboration between math and science teachers. Huston said “speaking the same language from one classroom to the next” is vital to a student’s learning. It’s a STEM world and it’s the teacher’s duty to cultivate their students to grow in such a world.

“It’s changed how we do things,” Huston explained. “It’s been a pretty neat fusion of science, math, technology and engineering.”

Other new equipment showcased in the sessions included turbidity tubes, which are used to measure the cloudiness of liquids like pond water, and water analysis kits from Hach.

While there is still a couple glorious months left of summer, many teachers at the workshop are already focused on the fall.

“I’m excited about the next school year,” said Lisa Roeker, a mathematics teacher at Tecumseh Middle School.

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