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franklin county times

Teachers learn new approaches to math, science

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 11, 2002
This summer some area teachers are picking up fresh ideas for experiments and projects to use in their classrooms when school starts back next month.
A workshop for fifth- through eighth-grade teachers, called Great Explorations in Math and Science, or GEMS, is taking place this week at Northeast Middle School in the Lauderdale County School District.
The workshop is sponsored by the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development. It uses materials for activity-based learning developed at the University of California at the Lawrence Hall of Science and tested in classrooms nationwide.
The workshop is run by sisters Jackie Stevens, a fifth-grade science teacher at Northeast Middle School, and Mavis Walker, a fifth-grade math teacher at Waynesboro Middle School.
Participants receive 15 hours of instruction, GEMS teacher guides, a notebook filled with classroom projects and the chance to exchange ideas with other educators.
The teachers at the workshop also meet in groups. Keith Ethridge, a seventh-grade math teacher at Magnolia Middle School, discovered "hands-on" activities to share with students such as puzzles.
But GEMS projects are not just for math and science teachers. The materials can be easily implemented into other curriculum, Stevens said.
Joseph Herrington, an American history teacher at West Lauderdale High School, also took part in the workshop this week.
A total of 16 teachers are attending the workshop this week from counties throughout East Central Mississippi. Stevens and Walker will have another workshop starting Tuesday at Northeast Middle School for kindergarten to fourth-grade teachers.
Stevens said some slots are still available for teachers interested in attending next week's workshop.
For more information, call the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development office at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus, at (601) 484-0300.

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