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Teachers get close-up, hands-on training

From left, Lynn Hauswirth of Verbena, Jamie O’Neal of Jemison Elementary, Terri Nobles of Thorsby and Lesley Fondren of Jemison Elementary work on a puzzle Wednesday at a teacher’s workshop at the Alabama Power Conference Center.

Learning science and mathematics is more than reading a textbook, according to the UAB School of Education’s Alabama Hands-on Activity Science Program (ALAHASP).

Approximately 20 second- through sixth-grade teachers attended the first workshop led by education and ALAHASP directors Joan Dawson and Beverly Radford.

A two-day workshop, Oct. 6-7, is being held in The Alabama Power Water Course Conference Center.

The workshops provide teachers with a hands-on and interactive experience on how science, mathematics and literacy integrate. It also demonstrates how developing and reinforcing higher order thinking skills, creativity, literacy and content knowledge accelerates science, math and other subjects.

“Professional development is ongoing,” said Radford. “I’m hoping that this Chilton County group will become an ALAHASP economy.”

Teachers from six Chilton County schools were in attendance including: Clanton Intermediate School, Clanton Middle School, Verbena High School, Thorsby High School, Jemison Elementary and Isabella High School.

“The things that we’re learning not only apply to science, but we can take it back and apply it to other subjects,” said Lesley Fondren, third grade teacher at Jemison Elementary School. “We’re getting to see some really cool experiments.”

The first Inquiry Institute workshop focused on the “Nature of Inquiry” and how scientists and mathematicians do their work. The second workshop introduces teachers to “The Private Eye,” where they will experience the hands-on, interdisciplinary Private Eye process – a program about the drama and wonder of looking closely at the world, thinking by analogy, changing scale and theorizing.

“Science is a process,” said Debbie Pezzillo, program coordinator. “It is making observation, hypothesis and connections.”

The ALAHASP workshops are at the requests of the school systems and have worked with Bibb County, Montgomery and surrounding areas.

“I hope this is the start of the Hands-on Activity Science Program for Chilton County,” said Pezzillo.