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LCSD Teachers Bring Smithsonian Into the Classroom

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 -

If you have ever traveled to Washington D.C., chances are you’ve  visited the Smithsonian. The world’s largest lbesmithsoniankit1museum, education and research complex allows visitors to explore history and discover new knowledge.

This school year, students across Central New York are learning first-hand what the Smithsonian has to offer without leaving their classrooms.

Long Branch Elementary fourth-grade teacher Alejandro Becerra and Willow Field Elementary fifth-grade teacher Jeffrey Bidwell are two of the approximately 70 teachers currently collaborating with the Smithsonian Science Education Center and a field partner (either Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES or Syracuse University) to help schools implement new science standards in the classroom.

Both Becerra and Bidwell are teaching lesson plans based on materials developed by the Smithsonian. These lessons engage students in scientific inquiry by not only investigating real-world problems, but by designing and engineering a solution. In addition to the hands-on science experiments, the lessons also integrate math, reading, writing, listening and speaking activities.

wfesmithsoniankit1Participation was made possible through a grant from the Smithsonian Science Education Center. In the second year of the grant, teachers will participate in professional development activities related to lesson study (where teachers plan and evaluate a lesson by observing one of the teachers presenting it to students). The teachers also will participate in research related to early education students engaging in engineering practices.

The Smithsonian Science Education Center was created more than 30 years ago as the only formal education unit within the Smithsonian. Its mission is to bring experiential scientific and engineering practices to classrooms all over the world to improve the teaching and learning of science for students.

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