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Monday January 21, 2019

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Teachers Are Students for Science, Tech Conference
July 2, 2018

Fifty elementary school teachers will be taking new science demonstrations and experiments back to the classroom this fall, courtesy of Walters State’s FaSCInating TEaCHers Conference. 
“These hands-on activities encourage the teaching of science and technology in a fun and engaging way,” said Dr. Jeff Horner, dean of the natural science division at Walters State. 
Over 100 teachers ranging from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade attended the conference. Instructors came from the college’s 10-county service area. Groups were divided into PreK-3 and 3-6 grades. 

Teachers practiced some simple experiments that leave a big impact on young learners. The lessons stemmed from a survey given in advance of the conference.

“Physical and earth sciences were the most popular items. The teachers have been able to be students today and do fun activities,” said Kelly Moore, instructor of biology and coordinator of the conference. 
Teachers receive written instructions and all materials needed to replicate the experiments at the end of each day. The Division of Natural Sciences provided the materials and the East Tennessee Regional P-16 Council provided breakfast and lunch.
“This is great because it gives us new ways to demonstrate abstract concepts,” said Sandra Voiles, a teacher at Centerview Elementary in Cocke County.  She attended the first conference last year and hopes the college holds another one next summer.
Teachers also learned how to create challenging escape rooms, teach biology in a way that improves retention of knowledge, and bring weather to the classroom.

In the photo: Sandra Voiles, a teacher at Centerview Elementary, and Jaqueline O’Toole, a teacher at Grassy Fork Elementary, learn how to use everyday items to demonstrate plate tectonics, the theory that the Earth’s outer shell is divided into plates that glide over the mantle layer above the core.