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West Elementary second graders in Jan Goodrich's class
recently visited Dr. Charles Lamb's biology laboratory at Black
Hills State to study samples of insects and stream life.
Examining a poster of stream life are, left Shaunna Farwell,
Eddie Cole, and Carson Christofferson. The students were locating
examples on the poster similar to the ones they had just viewed
under the microscope. The students' visit is part of the $1.4
million BLAHST project at BHSU that is designed to help teachers
and students learn science through inquiry-based instruction.
Summer science workshop for teachers carries over to
An intensive four-day summer workshop for local elementary
teachers was a `blast' and now students in the classroom are
reaping the benefits of `BLAHST,' an acronym for the `Black Hills
Science Teaching Project' to Prepare K-8 Teachers for the New
The summer workshop taught by Dr. Charles Lamb, lead scientist
for BLAHST and associate professor of biology at BHSU, took the
teachers through a review of scientific inquiry with a focus on
central themes in biology, current trends, environmental
education, research and curriculum implementation.
Lamb said the philosophy of the class was what the BLAHST
project is all aboutteaching science by doing
That is exactly what is happening now in the elementary
classroom, except now the teachers are applying what they learned
in the hands-on inquiry-based workshop to teach their students
Jan Goodrich, a second-grade teacher at West Elementary in
Spearfish, said, We learned about water quality and life in
Spearfish Creek. This tied in well with our local science
program, FOSS (Full Option Science System).
Using the new approach, second grade classes including
Goodrich and her students visited Lamb and the university science
laboratory this fall. They observed insects through microscopes
and experienced firsthand the principles of inquiry-based
He (Lamb) encouraged the children to use their minds to
explore what they saw instead of asking him for pat answers about
the material, said Goodrich.
The second graders studied mosquito and black fly larva,
worms, moss, and caddisfly larva as well as insects found in
their own yards and at Salem Park and at the Outdoor Learning
Center. Students viewed eyes of a bee and dragonfly, as well as
the legs and antenna of other insects.
According to Goodrich, the students were enthused about their
science experience at the BHSU lab and came away feeling
like they can and would like to become scientists.
Goodrich was among several area teachers involved in the
summer workshop focusing on water quality and life in Spearfish
All second graders will benefit from the information we
received from Dr. Lamb and Tom Mead (a Spearfish seventh grade
science teacher, who assisted with the workshop
presentation), said Goodrich. We are looking forward
to using the scientists from Black Hills State to help with our
Goodrich is one of several teachers serving as lead teachers
by taking their workshop experiences back to schools and sharing
the information with other teachers and students. They will do
this through workshop presentations and curriculum development.
What started out as a blast for teachers doing
research in Spearfish Creek, has become a blast for
area second graders as they gain hands-on science experience
passed on to them by an enthusiastic and caring group of
The BLAHST project at BHSU is funded by a $1.4 million
National Science Foundation grant and designed to improve K-8
teachers' abilities to deliver high quality, inquiry-based
The BLAHST project in an ongoing five-year project involving
eight area school districts.
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