Last year, I left an engineering career to teach math and science in an overcrowded school in south Los Angeles. Am I crazy? Maybe...but the rewards greatly outweigh the hurdles...most days! I currently teach thirty-nine ELLs (English Language Learners) in a self-contained 6th grade class. Our school lies on the border of Watts and south Los Angeles in an impovershed neighborhood. Despite all the typical urban hardships: gangs, violence, racial tension, drugs, poverty, etc., my students are full of intelligence, compassion, leadership, and hope. Science instruction is essential to my students' future, but there are two main obstacles that hinder successful science instruction in our classroom. First of all, many of my students have never been to the mountains, ocean, or countryside; and therefore, they can not place scientific concepts in a personal context. Secondly, science materials for every student are not readily available. Both of these challenges demand inventive resourcefulness! Scientific demonstrations are a great alternative when materials are not available to conduct a group experiment. However, given our large class size, viewing the experiment/demonstration is rather challenging. Imagine thirty-nine students struggling to see what is in a bucket or on a table. After attending a science conference, I realized that a videocamera and a small tripod could solve our dilemma. The videocamera could be propped over a demonstration and projected on an overhead screen. This would allow every student to see the demonstration clearly without crowding. With the aid of a borrowed LCD projector, a videocamera would be a tremendous help in our congested classroom! As an added bonus, the camera could be used to videotape student demonstrations and projects. For example, my students created and performed anti-drug skits earlier this year. Videotaping the skits would have been a tremendous empowerment tool! The materials necessary for this ongoing project are a digital videocamera and a small tripod. Any type of digital videocamera and tripod will suffice. My students will benefit tremendoulsy from viewing science demonstrations. Reading scientific details from a book and/or looking at pictures does not connect to the students' prior knowledge. Demonstrating erosion on a handmade hillside and/or watching cinnamon skate aross the surface of water when the tension is broken will create meaning! My hope is that this meaning will spawn curiosity and a zeal for investigating science and math for years to come.
|Canon ZR100 Mini DV Digital • Highsmith Inc.||$378.40||1||$378.40|
|TRIPOD FOR CAMERAS AND STROBES • Sargent Welch||$54.10||1||$54.10|
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