Pharos-Tribune

Local News

February 21, 2013

Choosing science

Science curriculum boosts learning

From identifying fabrics to making up their own telegraphic code, students at Logansport’s elementary schools are taking science into their own hands.

About three years in to the school district’s Indiana Science Curriculum, educators are seeing a greater love of science among their students as well as higher test scores. The curriculum places an emphasis on hands-on science learning, with students learning the scientific method and inquisitive skills.

Under the curriculum, students in kindergarten through fifth grade receive kits that cover the state-mandated four major areas of science: life science, physical science, earth science and science technology and engineering. However, unlike past curricula, every lesson plan in the kits includes a focus question and hands-on investigation.

For example, in Mrs. Hamm’s Kindergarten class at Fairview Elementary, students were asked “How are fabrics different?” To answer the question, the students picked out different pieces of fabric while learning about the properties that make each fabric absorb or repel water.

In higher grades, like Miss Erickson’s fifth-grade class, students helped build circuits that could be used to make long-distance telegraphs.

These activities help foster cooperative learning, rather than instruction just by the teacher, according to Michael Miller, elementary science coach for the corporation.

“It’s a student-first model,” Miller said.

The curriculum started out as a pilot program at Fairview Elementary from 2010 to 2011. The pilot was expanded to the three other elementary schools the next school year, with the 2012 to 2013 school year being the first full year the curriculum is in place.  

Because the program helps engage all students, Miller said they’ve noticed a marked difference in ISTEP test scores as well student appreciation of science.  

“It’s been phenomenal,” Miller said.

Using scores from Fairview Elementary School, Miller said they saw an 11 percent improvement in scores alone after two years of the program.

It has also been helping boost scores among English Language Learners and free and reduced lunch students.

“Another thing they’re looking at in our district is closing that achievement gap,” Miller said.

Elizabeth Lopasser, principal of Columbia Elementary School, attributed that increase to the interactive lessons.

“Regardless of student need, anytime that a student is reading writing, listening, speaking, and doing you’re going to make a better connection,” Lopasser said. “With this program, we’re actually doing all of these things.

Miller said they’ve also seen improvements in other areas like English and Math.

For Jackie Danhauser, curriculum and program development coordinator, one of the clearest signs of success for the program is that science is no longer just fit in to the school day, but rather requested by the students.

“That speaks volumes,” Danhauser said.

Chris Hess, principal at Fairview Elementary School, said the curriculum is making her students love science, which wasn’t usually the case in the past.

“Most kids will tell you that science is one of their favorite subjects,” Hess said.

She said that enjoyment of science could help prepare the students for careers in the field.

“I would not want another science curriculum in my building right now,” Hess said.

The curriculum is also benefiting teachers, according to Rita McLochlin, Landis Elementary School Principal. The kits include all materials for the projects, so the teachers do not have to go out and find materials for science learning, as they had to in the past.

“Everything comes all in one package,” McLoughlin said.

The curriculum materials come out of the school textbook fund, but teaching training and Miller’s salary come out of a math and science partnership grant with Purdue University. The University helps provide teacher training for the curriculum.

The curriculum will remain in the Logansport School Corporation until 2017, when the curriculum will be decided on again.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Area could see higher healthcare premiums Individual premiums for healthcare under the Patents Protection and Affordable Care Act could go up in counties with poorer health, according to a Ball State University study.The study said counties with poor health, specifically high diabetes incide

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT072914 Voting2.jpg Round 2: Deadlines approach to file for November election Openings are filling up as deadlines to file approach to run for local town councils and school boards.Up for election this fall are town council seats in Royal Center’s districts No. 2, 3 and at large and at large in Walton as well. The filing deadl

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT073114 Hopper2.jpg The right track: Logansport boy advocates railroad crossing safety

    It's not uncommon to see 12-year-old Ethan Hopper sitting in a lawn chair near his father's business on 18th Street in Logansport, his cell phone pointed at a locomotive heading down the nearby tracks. The engines make up a fascination modern technol

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • Cass Co. Community Foundation eligible for grant The Cass County Community Foundation is eligible to receive half a million dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. as a matching grant at some point over the course of the next couple of years.Lilly Endowment announced the sixth phase of its Giving Indiana

    July 31, 2014

  • Locals: EPA delay request too late Logansport officials say while they appreciate a state executive’s request to delay new rules on coal power plants, its timing still requires pursuing a new power plant for the city.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published last month its Cl

    July 31, 2014

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post.Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named.A seven-member panel of

    July 31, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 30, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT073014 Hickman.jpg Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    MONTICELLO — Two were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores. Lindsey R. Hogg, 22, Monticello, and Rachel D. Hickman, 23, Burnettsville, were arrested by the Lafayette

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fatal wreck UPDATE: Monticello woman killed in overnight wreck

    A Monticello woman was killed late Monday night in an automobile accident involving a car and semi-trailer truck in the northbound lane of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition