2/26/14 Alamance-Burlington Schools get science grant

Alamance-Burlington Schools get science grant
By KAREN CARTER Enterprise Editor, The Mebane Enterprise 2/26/14  
Reprinted with permission.      

Melaine Rickard (left) and North Carolina State University graduate student in FREEDM Robert Clark talk about the opportunities for Woodlawn Middle School students and their teacher Kristen Riley (not pictured) to work with hands-on science.  

Karen Carter/Mebane Enterprise

Melaine Rickard (left) and North Carolina State University graduate student in FREEDM Robert Clark talk about the opportunities for Woodlawn Middle School students and their teacher Kristen Riley (not pictured) to work with hands-on science.

 

Melaine Rickard is the Alamance-Burlington Schools program specialist for K-12 for Social Studies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

STEM is designed to make sure students understand these fields but also relate them to the real world, said Rickard.

North Carolina State University graduate students came to Woodlawn Middle School last Friday to give Kristen Riley’s science students an opportunity for hands-on learning, using math and science to solve real life problems.

Rickard is a former Kenan Fellow with the National Science Foundation. The Alamance-Burlington Schools are in partnership with the Foundation and NC State University to present science opportunities in the classroom.

“ABSS has worked with FREEDM (Free Renewable Electrical Energy Management) Systems Center at NC State University for a long time,” said Rickard.

The Alamance-Burlington Schools have an impressive grant program in the middle schools, said Rickard, called “Students Discover,” hands on science in the classroom.

Teachers that get a paid stipend as a Kenan Fellow work in a world-class facility and develop lesson plans and models to bring back to the students, said Rickard.

Next summer the middle schools will enjoy a Citizen Science Camp designed to collect data and send it to NC State University.

They will be doing such things as studying different kinds of bacteria living in a student’s belly button, said Rickard.

Another project middle school students will work on is finding out which ants live in different parts of the world.

Rickard said Alamance-Burlington students will be working on four projects:

1. Mammals. Students will take cameras and put them outside their schools to see which mammals come by. Would a fox come by and get on camera?

2. Mites in your face,

3. Prehistoric forensics and dinosaur evolution,

4. genomics and microbiology.

Teachers who are a Kenan Fellow function as a scientist, said Rickard, and think about how they can transfer what they learn to the classroom.

“The Kenan Fellows Program is a program that builds teacher leadership,” said Rickard. “I grew as a teacher leader when I was paired with a scientist and for five weeks worked day-by-day with the life of a scientist. The Kenan Fellow program gives you both lesson plans and leadership development.”