Major grant to aid McGill University professor's efforts to improve school science teaching

McGill University professor, Dr. Brian Alters, has received a three-year Lucent Technologies Foundation grant totaling $650,000 to improve the teaching of science in primary and secondary schools. The grant is one of only eleven awarded from the 97 proposals received by the Foundation from universities around the world. Professor Alters is Head of Science Education in the McGill Faculty of Education and is the Director of the new Evolution Education Research Centre developed at McGill and composed of four Harvard and four McGill professors.

Forty years after Sputnik rocked North America's complacency about science education, the level of scientific literacy among young people as well as the general population remains distressingly low. From the recent Kansas decision to remove the theory of evolution from the State's school curriculum to the widespread shortage of technologically competent manpower to fill currently available jobs, evidence shows that little, if any, progress has been made to address this crucial issue. Now, thanks to a $650,000 grant from the Lucent Technologies Foundation, Professor Brian Alters, head of Science Education in the Faculty of Education of McGill University, is setting his sights on improving this situation.

One of only eleven successful proposals from ninety-seven submissions worldwide, Professor Alters' project will be a partnership between McGill, and six nearby school boards representing approximately 180 public schools in the Montreal area. Because of the demonstrated importance of hands-on activities in learning about science, the project will focus on the development of such activities through the collaboration of graduate education students, graduate science students, and practicing elementary and high school teachers. Working in small groups, they will be instructed in current science education learning theory and teaching methods at McGill University and will use the university's science teaching laborato

Contact: Professor Brian Alters
514-398-6746 l-5151
McGill University

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