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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid