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As modeled by Dekalb County Science Coordinator Ken Townsel, we don't just develop and implement curricula here at PRISM ... we like to have a little fun in the process.
At the Challenger Learning Center at SciTrek, we participated in a hands-on simulation of a mission to study Halley's Comet. Our team members played the roles of navigations, life support, communications, and scientific officers at both Mission Control in Houston and a Space Station orbiting several miles above Earth (of course, our "Houston" was actually a classroom in an Atlanta science museum, and our "Space Station" was located conveniently next door). While the simulation provided valuable cooperation and communication skills among our team, it also exposed our participants to a fantastic example of a participatory, problem-based learning lesson.
To teach is to engage students in learning; thus teaching consists of
getting students involved in the active construction of knowledge. A teacher
requires not only knowledge of subject matter, but knowledge of how students
learn and how to transform them into active learners. Good teaching, then,
requires a commitment to systematic understanding of learning...The aim
of teaching is not only to transmit information, but also to transform
students from passive recipients of other people's knowledge into active
constructors of their own and others' knowledge. The teacher cannot transform
without the student's active participation, of course. Teaching is fundamentally
about creating the pedagogical, social, and ethical conditions under which
students agree to take charge of their own learning, individually and
collectively (p. xiii, xvi).
PRISM hopes to change all that, shedding light and clarity on the body of science and mathematics.
1 Tom Weller, Science Made Stupid: How to Discomprehend the World Around Us. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985.
© 2003-2010 PRISM and Emory University. This material is based upon work supported by the GK-12 program of the National Science Foundation, under Awards #DGE0536941 and #DGE0231900. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Emory University.
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