Innovation Awards Gallery
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Innovation Awards
Showing Pete Karpyk

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First Place

9-12 | Science & Tech | Hands on activities

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My Classroom Innovation

Many of the objectives of 21st Century Learning Skills stress working as a team. Weir High’s Chem Teams have been visiting Weirton’s elementary schools for nearly twenty years. My students perform demonstrations and help younger students do hands-on science activities. We started with one visit per year. Our visitations have been so successful that we now visit four times a year and involve twenty elementary classrooms. I started this program to motivate the younger students. The program has been successful beyond my wildest dreams! Frequently, on the first day of school, my high school students will tell me that they have been waiting to take chemistry since they were in first grade. Moreover, it did not take long to discover that the older students gained as much, if not more, from this experience. Even students who do not excel in the classroom take a lot of pride in doing well and are left with a positive attitude towards the course. My students have always received outstanding ratings from the elementary teachers. Our activities have been featured in The Weirton Daily Times. One of our photographs was printed in The Science Teacher, a national magazine.

How Students were Engaged

My students choose team leaders and form groups to visit the elementary schools. Each team writes a detailed plan of their presentation with assignments for specific responsibilities ranging from science demonstrations to classroom clean up. The demonstrations include secret messages, polymer newspapers, pencils through a water filled bag, and baby diaper magic. Each elementary student makes slime or silly putty. All visitations stress the excitement of science, the importance of doing one’s best in school, and lab safety. Students use digital cameras and camcorders to capture the activities. Then, a DVD is made and used for training future students.

PBS Program/Content Used