Program evaluation is always interesting, some days more than others! Right now I’m in Columbia, MO, for the National Science Foundation-funded Quality Elementary Science Teaching (QuEST) Summer Institute 2015. My colleague, Tracy Bousselot, and I are in our second year in attendance at this hands-on gathering of Missouri elementary teachers working to enhance their understanding of science content and pedagogy. The above picture shows Dr. Deborah Hanuscin (“Dr H,” one of the project Principal Investigators) and her staff working the room with teacher participants as they become learners of science with this year’s topic, circuits and energy. The little chick is the Electrical Circuit Chick. I got to participate with the teachers in a demonstration where we made the chick chirp by holding hands. The chirping exercise showed how our electrolytes conduct electricity so that a group touching hands can form a closed circuit which then makes the chick chirp. During the afternoon session on pedagogy, the teachers were able to reflect on how they had learned about closed circuits that morning and what adaptations to the lesson would be needed to be effective with elementary students. Tomorrow Dr. H tells me I get to sit with the teachers and learn about circuits with them. In evaluation talk, we call this participant observation. I call it fun!
Learn more at http://sciencequest.missouri.edu/about/info.html
Kristine Chadwick, Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation