Colorado State University Welcomes 40 Korean Teachers for One Month of Innovative Science Education Training

Colorado State University welcomes 40 Korean teachers to campus beginning July 18 for one month of training designed to teach the latest innovative methods in science education. Colorado State’s Office of International Programs, in collaboration with the university’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, or CSMATE, and the Department of Physics’ Little Shop of Physics educational outreach program, will conduct a four-week institute for Korean secondary school chemistry and physics teachers. This is the third consecutive year Colorado State is hosting the course.

Colorado State was selected for the program in 2002 by the Korean Ministry of Education, through its National Institute for International Education Development, in order to improve science education in Korea.  

"Colorado State University is honored to welcome this group of science educators to Fort Collins for a month of science education training that will enable them to improve instruction for their students in Korea," said Jerome B. Bookin-Weiner, Colorado State’s executive director of International Programs and one of the lead organizers of the program. "Colorado State is home to some of the world’s top scientists and educators. Their innovative approaches to teaching have clearly put us in the forefront of science education, and we are pleased to have an opportunity to share this expertise with our Korean colleagues."

The 40 participating teachers are divided into two groups of 20; one for chemistry and one for physics. Participants receive intensive instruction for three weeks in the latest scientific developments and innovative approaches to teaching. Instruction includes hands-on experience with classroom technologies, methods for applying strategies in Korean classrooms, experience in U.S. science classrooms, and developing an on-going network for follow up and further collaboration in the future.

Throughout the course, the chemistry teachers will be taught the following.

– Principles and techniques of Small-Scale Chemistry.

– How to apply small-scale apparatus and equipment to solve problems associated with laboratory studies such as cost, safety, time and waste disposal.

– How to teach creativity, invention, problem-solving and critical thinking skills through laboratory exercises.

– How to authentically assess student learning through performance based evaluations.

– How to use Small-Scale Chemistry methods to enhance opportunities for research.

Small-Scale Chemistry is an innovative, holistic, cutting-edge digital approach of engaging students in experimental chemistry that provides a solution to most of the problems associated with laboratory instruction. Small-Scale Chemistry involves the use of non-traditional methods, apparatus and techniques that have been developed in microbiology, molecular biology and nano-technology research to safely obtain and analyze the maximum amount of information by the simplest and most cost-effective means.

Participants in the physics program will work with the Little Shop of Physics to learn and develop techniques of teaching students basic and advanced concepts using the latest understanding from physics education research into how students learn. A key element of the Little Shop of Physics approach is to make connections between physics and the world. Teachers will explore such issues as the following.

– The physics of playground equipment.

– How to use toys as teaching tools.

– How to turn garage sale items into exciting physics demonstrations.

– How to find physics principles in movies and sports.

The teachers also will learn how to connect physics with other science disciplines, exploring the physics behind perception of sound and light, measuring the electric fields of their hearts and discovering why humans run much more slowly than other mammals. As a culminating activity, teachers will participate in an "Iron Physics Teacher" competition where teams of teachers will be given five minutes to create a physics lesson out of everyday objects.

In addition to classroom instruction at Colorado State, the participants will visit Poudre High School, Rocky Mountain High School and Preston Junior High School in Fort Collins, and Aims Community College’s Greeley campus. They also will visit a variety of local sites including Lory State Park, the Environmental Learning Center in Fort Collins and Budweiser’s Fort Collins brewery to observe how physics and chemistry apply to daily activities.

During the program’s fourth week, the group will travel to four regional National Parks and landmarks including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon, before returning to Korea on August 14.  

In addition to Bookin-Weiner, organizers of the program are Stephen Thompson, director of CSMATE and developer of the Small-Scale Chemistry method, and Brian Jones, director of the Little Shop of Physics. Both are internationally known innovators in science education.