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Eisenhower grant funds science workshop for science teachers

A $36,000 Eisenhower Grant will fund a summer workshop at Black Hills State University designed to improve science teaching in grades 7-12, particularly as it relates to physics.

The 18-day summer workshop is titled “Physics Modeling Workshop for School Technology Infusion.” The principal investigator and grant author is Dr. Rena Faye Norby, assistant professor of education at BHSU.


The July 5 through 28 workshop will accommodate 20 high school physics and physical science teachers. After completing the workshop, these teacher experts will serve their schools and school districts as leaders reforming science teaching to meet state and national standards.

The workshop will attract science teachers from public and private sectors including BIA and reservation schools. The schools involved will then have at least one Technology in Science Teaching (TST) leader to model the best use of technology in the science classroom, to train other teachers and to advise schools on cost-effective infusion of technology into science courses.


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Norby said, “We hope to build and improve communication between physics and physical science teachers in South Dakota by providing a web site for them; and we hope to provide a variety of ways to learn physics using hands-on methods that will improve learning of physics for all South Dakota students.”

Workshop participants will earn four to six semester hours of graduate credit. There will be a total of 150 hours of contact time. To receive six hours of credit, participants must participate in follow-up sessions and classroom visitations. The project is designed to develop a corps of expert teachers as part of a regional system of Local Physics Alliance (LPA).

According to Norby, “strengthening of physics content knowledge for some teachers who may not be certified in physics, and a review of physics concepts for those who are certified in physics” are critical needs addressed by the workshop.

Assisting Norby with the workshop are high school physics instructors Jerry Loomer, Rapid City, and Harlan Heitz, Mina. Both teachers are experienced in the modeling method as a systematic approach to the design of curriculum and instruction. When using the modeling method, teachers act as facilitators of learning rather than dispensers of knowledge.

Information on the summer workshop is available by contacting Norby at 642-6226.