The group agreed that the project had to offer more in-depth content than a single visit could provide. "We didn't feel it was enough to just go to a school and have kids come in for one activity," explained May. "We wanted the project to be a starting point so schools could do more investigative science."
The program includes a pre-visit workshop, where teachers can learn the basics of doing science that allows students to explore and ask questions. This type of teaching, called inquiry, can be challenging because it is time consuming and requires teachers to prepare materials. The Monsanto program will help bridge these constraints by allowing teachers to borrow a science materials kit to use in their classrooms.
"By the time the mobile classroom comes to the school, the kids will be ready to do an extension of the activities they did in class," said May. A program coordinator will be based at a warehouse at the St. Louis Science Center's Taylor Community Science Resource Center, and will provide scheduling support, teacher assistance, and science kit refurbishment.
The Monsanto program also will help teachers align their curriculum with Missouri standards. "Teachers are required to cover the Missouri grade level expectations," said Mark Kalk, coordinator and instructor for science outreach. "We realized that we could provide hands-on activities around the GLEs for grades K-2." The GLEs for primary grades cover six areas: earth systems, universe, living systems, matter and energy, force and
Contact: Dana Benedictus
Washington University in St. Louis