News / USA

Scientists Help US Science Teachers in the Classroom

Teacher Fred Tenyke discusses science with the class at Georgian Forest Elementary school as retired engineer Dave Weiss, who helps apply his experience to help, looks on, in Silver Spring, Maryland, November 2011.
Teacher Fred Tenyke discusses science with the class at Georgian Forest Elementary school as retired engineer Dave Weiss, who helps apply his experience to help, looks on, in Silver Spring, Maryland, November 2011.
Deborah Block

Students in the United States in their last year of high school  are not performing as well on the same science tests as their peers in many other countries. Educators say there should be more emphasis on science in American schools. A visit to one school where a retired engineer is using his expertise in science to help both teachers and students shows how it can benefit everyone.

“Welcome to science class. So good to see you guys today,” said retired engineer Dave Weiss, greeting 10-year-old students at Georgian Forest Elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland. One day each week, he works with [substitute] teacher Fred Tenyke on science projects. Before class, they discuss the day’s assignment before the students arrive.

“In this experiment, I think it might be confusing to the kids that we’re dealing with two masses,” said Weiss to Tenyke, in advance of the class.

Today’s experiment demonstrates the principles of motion and involves string and cars made of paper.

"But the experiment we’re going to do, we want to keep all of our variables constant,” said Weiss.

Student Jada Lockwood said she enjoys Weiss’ visits to her classroom. She especially likes the diagrams he uses to explain scientific concepts.

“Mr. Weiss would go in the back and draw these pictures, and he helps us a lot,” said Lockwood.

Weiss has been a volunteer for many years in the senior scientists and engineers program sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The scientists and engineers are teaching teachers in elementary schools more about science so they can improve their skills to help their students.

Weiss said he and the other volunteers help teachers by providing hands-on expertise, in an area with which many elementary school teachers have little experience.

“In elementary school, for the most part, your regular classroom teacher is responsible for teaching science, along with reading and math, and if they don’t have a strong science background, just by nature, they’re going to tend to under-represent science in the curriculum,” said Weiss.

Tenyke agrees. He just started teaching science classes a few months ago.  

"A lot of time I’ll spit out information I learned in the book, or things that are part of the curriculum. Dave helps me learn how to supplement that information so that it’s more relevant to them, so that it will be more relevant to their work experience later on in life," said Tenyke.

Weiss said he enjoys sharing his knowledge.

“Fred is so enthusiastic and he’s so much fun with the kids. I can see he really loves what he’s doing. I get as much pleasure from helping the teachers as I do helping the students,” said Weiss.

The retired engineer is concerned, though, that U.S. students are lagging in science, behind countries such as China, Japan, the Czech Republic and Finland. But he is optimistic American students will catch up.

“In elementary school I just try to give them a solid foundation. I hope they’ll develop a curiosity about what’s going on around them,” said Weiss.

Tenkye thinks volunteers like Weiss are helping students’ do that.

“And if you can develop a passion for science, then eventually the grades and test scores will follow [and increase, too]," said Tenkye.

Weiss hopes by getting children interested in science early, more of them will follow in his footsteps.


You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs