10/9/13

6th Grade teacher uses workshop experience to train student scientists

This past summer’s B-WET workshop offered a lot of lesson and activity ideas for all of the teachers who attended, including Marea Spentzos-Inghram, middle school teacher at Catherine Cook School in Chicago.  

Beyond just taking a few curriculum ideas back to her lesson prep, though, Ms. Spentzos-Inghram decided to turn her class into student scientists by becoming official precipitation observers for CoCoRaHS – the “Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network” – which is a volunteer network of weather watchers throughout the country. The project was even featured in the school newsletter (photo below).

"The B-WET workshop presented teachers with so much information it would be impossible to not get inspired!" said Ms. Spentzos-Inghram. "They had a lineup of AMAZING presenters from a variety of organizations to promote their efforts, which made it a one-stop shop for information about bringing Great Lakes science into the classroom."

"Being an urban school, I felt limited in outdoor environmental opportunities but CoCoRaHs was do-able. Since I have rooftop access to my building it was easy to participate! And the students get REALLY excited when it rains because they want to see how much rain fell at our school. I can't imagine what it will be like for snow (or other precipitation)."

Ms. Spentzos-Inghram has expanded on this experience and introduced an outreach component, with a group of students working on a PSA right now featuring a cartoon rain gauge being interviewed. 

As for the benefits of the workshop, "what they had to share seemed easy (teachers like easy) yet practical, useful, and educational. And the students have really taken to it and gotten involved, which is the best part of coming back with new ideas for the classroom."

Similar workshops are held regularly, and you can contact IISG’s Robin Goettel and Terri Hallesy for more details. You can find additional information about Great Lakes science resources and training at our education page and at the Center for Great Lakes Literacy.

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