SMILE Math and Science Nights in CorvallisPosted November 21st, 2012 by staff
Under the watchful eye of Oregon State University student Vanessa Robinson, a Lincoln School student carefully combined tape, a plastic spoon and some small sticks to make his unique version of a catapult. Robinson’s eyes widened as she saw his technique.
“That is a creative solution I’ve never seen before,” she said. “Let’s show your dad.”
Around the pair, dozens of other elementary students and parents were crowded around, working on their own experiments. The gymnasium of Lincoln School was abuzz with laughter, shouting and intense discussions during their once-a-term Family Math and Science Night. A similar event is held at Garfield Elementary. The goal is to have children, families and teachers work together as partners to engage in learning science.
The event is facilitated by a group of enthusiastic soon-to-be teachers who are enrolled in Assistant Professor SueAnn Bottoms’ class on scientific methods. These pre-service teachers don’t get a lot of time to spend actually working with students, which is why Bottoms makes sure that in her class, working with elementary students at Garfield and Lincoln Schools is one of the requirements in her class.
The family night events are coordinated between the College of Education faculty, and the OSU-affiliated programs 4-H and SMILE (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences). 4-H holds once-a-week afterschool science and math programs at Garfield and Lincoln, and during fall and spring term, Bottoms’ students usually spend about four or five sessions working one-on-one or in small groups with participating children. This allows them to practice their teaching skills, specifically in the area of science education.