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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs