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April 11, 2016

Workshops for teachers seek to inspire hands-on approach to science


Primary teachers of grades K-2 from Niskayuna, Guilderland, East Greenbush, Scotia-Glenville, Lansingburgh and Menands came together to enhance their teaching skills through various workshops geared toward developing more hands-on teaching and learning techniques in the science classroom.
As part of a 15-hour course broken into shorter workshop opportunities, teachers have been analyzing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and exploring examples of hands-on learning that align with the new shifts in the standards.

The National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science developed the NGSS. They require students to have opportunities to learn science through practical, real-world demonstrations.

In one workshop held at Hillside Elementary on March 31, Niskayuna earth science teacher Joe Spollen introduced elementary teachers to a hands-on approach to teaching elevation contour lines and erosion and disposition caused by flowing water. Participants completed the lesson as if they were students to get a better understanding of how the lesson could work in their own classrooms.

The various workshops offered at Niskayuna not only allowed participants to experience different techniques to use in their classroom, but they also allowed teachers to create an NGSS-aligned lesson, unit or project with the support of workshop facilitators and co-participants. The lessons are also aligned with Common Core English and math standards.