Groundwork Education in Mathematics & Science (GEMS)
University of Louisville
Fellows have combined their science expertise with what they have learned about K5 pedagogy and core content standards during GEMS training. While our school district utilizes science modules like FOSS, DSM, and STC that practice inquiry-based instruction for key concepts, curricular ''gaps'' still remain. Although GEMS is focused on full implementation of the science modules, many Fellows found they were spending considerable time brainstorming and searching the Internet to find age-appropriate activities for addressing these gaps. On their own initiative, Fellows collaborated to research, develop, and field-test mini-lessons. With input from science faculty, content specialists, and elementary science teachers (and with available GK12 funding), our Fellows have assembled mini-modules for presenting concepts on heat and light. In addition, Fellows have used their technological expertise to extend and deepen content taught in these modules. For instance, one Fellow assembled a computer-interfaced oscilloscope to augment concepts presented in FOSSís Physics of Sound because students persisted in confusing volume and pitch. The children were invited to visualize the difference by acting as sound generators and humming into a microphone. By modulating the frequency (pitch) and the volume (amplitude) of their humming, they were amazed at the clear distinction on the oscilloscope. Mathematics Fellows have worked with their teachers to develop lessons on topics that are on Kentucky's accountability test but are not dealt with sufficiently in Investigations. For example, one team developed a lesson on volume and capacity that also introduced binary numeration.