Four Math and Science Partnership grants totaling nearly $200,000 from the South Dakota Board of Regents were recently awarded to Black Hills State University’s Center for Advancement of Math and Science Education (CAMSE) for projects that will show methods to make math and science more interesting and more understandable for their students.

Dr. Janet Briggs, science educational specialist at CAMSE, received funding for “Inquiry-Based Physics for Teachers.” The project will include a weeklong course at BHSU in June for teachers in grades 6-12 from across the state of South Dakota. A partnership with White Lake and Andes Central school districts, this course is part of the science specialist endorsement offered through BHSU, and can also be taken as part of the masters of science degree in curriculum and instruction.

Dr. Andy Johnson, associate director of CAMSE, was awarded a grant for "Modeling Physics and Math 2010," a two week course for teachers of grades 7-12. Teachers who take the course will learn to use the highly regarded "modeling method" for teaching science and mathematics. This course, which is a partnership with the Bennett County Schools, will be taught by Johnson with two expert high school teachers: Rose Emanuel, Lead, and Roberta Traxinger, Douglas. Johnson said "Modeling makes physics interesting and fun for students, but the students also understand physics a lot better at the end of a modeling course."

The third and fourth grants partner Black Hills State University with the Todd County, McIntosh and Chamberlain school districts to support the “South Dakota Counts” mathematics project. This award extends the Education Department’s initiative, “South Dakota Counts” to the middle and high school levels, in an effort to ensure availability to high-quality instruction in college-preparatory science and math courses for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances.

Contact Briggs at 642-6875 for information regarding the science specialist program; Johnson at 642-6508 about the modeling program; and Vicki Kapust, associate director of math outreach for CAMSE, or Dr. June Apaza, deputy director of CAMSE, at 642-6910 about the “South Dakota Counts” project.