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Project Info: E=MC2
staff: Sona Polakowski (Project Director)
grant award #: 9553895
funding began: 07-01-1996
funding ends: 06-30-2001
project focus: Science
grade levels: Elementary
venue type: Suburban
abstract: This project is a consortium of three New Jersey school districts -- West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional, Ewing and Lawrence Townships -- and seven research and development centers including American Cyanamid, Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Geophysical Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, Rider University and the College of New Jersey that promotes an inquiry approach to the teaching of elementary science. This 5-year project targets every elementary teacher in the three districts, including ESL, bilingual and special education teachers in the 14 schools. Teachers receive professional development through summer institutes, participation in monthly support/share groups, and with mentoring throughout the school year. Teachers gain an understanding of how elementary children learn science; how to empower students' to conduct investigations, ask questions, and work cooperatively in groups; develop a knowledge base to facilitate an inquiry-based science program; learn how to use the available technology; develop strategies to promote equity; and gain the knowledge to use, interpret and create authentic assessment instruments. Forty mentor teachers are assigned to the school districts, proportionately, to help teachers make the transition from a textbook program to a hands-on approach utilizing the NSF-supported instructional materials. Twenty-six, K-6 teachers volunteered to begin the program in 1996 to pilot FOSS, Insights and STC science modules in their classrooms. September, 1999 most classrooms have implemented 3 science modules per grade level. A central Science Resource Materials Center store and replenish the activity-based modules and distribute them to the teachers. Additional science and education expertise will be provided by faculty from Princeton University, scientists from Sigmi Xi - the scientific research society, the American Physical Society and AAAS, Trenton, NJ.