New Emerson, science center duo gets an ‘A’

A new partnership this year between the John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado and New Emerson Elementary School has received rave reviews from students and teachers.

A survey given to New Emerson students in February found most students “agreed” or “strongly agreed” they had fun with lessons they receive weekly at the Math & Science Center, found the lessons interesting and educational, and enjoy science more this year than last year.

Teachers also gave the lessons high marks, with most agreeing the lessons supplemented content being taught in class and generated interest in concepts covered in the lessons and science in general.

Through the partnership, Mesa State College students working at the Math & Science Center create lessons to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts in a hands-on way to different grade levels.

New Emerson students go to the Math & Science Center once a week to receive a grade-appropriate STEM lesson. If the lessons go well, the materials involved in the lesson are boxed up and used by teachers at other schools to teach STEM concepts in their classrooms.

Math & Science Center Executive Director Teresa Coons said the 45- to 60-minute lessons for New Emerson students have been so successful that Dual Immersion Academy and Orchard Avenue Elementary have asked the center to help the schools design STEM curriculum for their students to use next year.

New Emerson Principal Terry Schmalz said having more access to the center than other schools this year has been great.

She’s especially pleased the lessons are taught by someone with a science background and a graduate degree in education, Dr. Maggie Cason.

“Having students get information from a science specialist is key. It’s an experience we can’t provide for them in the classroom,” Schmalz said.

The Math & Science Center also benefits from the arrangement because it has more input from students and teachers when designing lesson kits, Coons said.

“I’m really excited about expanding what we’re doing into other schools in the district and on the Western Slope,” she said.


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