Reaching out to Pennsylvania High Schools, Middle Schools and Elementary Schools
The Westminster College Science in Motion program provides elementary, middle and high school students with laboratory experiences with modern instrumentation and offers their teachers professional development opportunities through workshops and mentoring links with college faculty. The Science vans at Westminster College are operated by a PA-State certified science teacher or an educator with a Ph.D. in the subject area and teaching experience. The Mobile Educator will transport scientific equipment and instruments to participating teachers in order for them to increase understanding of the science concepts they are teaching.
Goals of Project
- To increase student interest and participation in science courses and science careers.
- To ensure equal opportunity to learn for all school systems in participating in SIM by providing access to modern technology.
- To enhance science teacher's ability to provide challenging and stimulating instruction to all students through curriculum development and staff development opportunities.
- To establish a teacher network among high school science teachers and between high school teachers and Westminster College faculty.
- To facilitate implementation of the Pennsylvania Science Standards.
- To provide students with experiences using state-of-the-art scientific equipment and instrumentation in their school laboratories,
In meeting these goals, the SIM program directly addresses several areas of critical need in Pennsylvania's science classrooms. Regarding equipment and supplies, there is general agreement that hands-on activities in a science classroom greatly enhance the learning process for students. However, few science teachers in our state have the resources to run an effective laboratory program. SIM essentially gives participating high school and middle school science teachers access to an equipment storeroom with more than $200 K of modern laboratory equipment.
The Science in Motion program includes in its yearly schedule a substantial professional development component for teachers that strengthens content knowledge and provides a direct mentoring link with natural science faculty. Another need for teachers is time. Most science teachers are assigned to teach multiple subjects during the day, and there is little time for them to prepare for laboratory experiments, even when equipment is available. SIM meets this need with Mobile Educators who can assist the classroom teacher during their visits.