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Science teachers in Connecticut teachers take classes at Wesleyan through the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science Program (PIMMS). PIMMS is teaming up with the Connecticut Science Center to provide science and math education techniques to K-12 teachers.
Posted 09.15.06

Wesleyan, Connecticut Science Center Forge Partnership to Promote Interest in the Sciences

A new partnership between Wesleyan University and The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford will be designed to engage more students across the state to the sciences than ever before.

Specifically, The Connecticut Science Center will be partnering with Wesleyan's Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Sciences (PIMMS). Together they will train Connecticut middle school science teachers how best to teach the sciences to students in grades K-12.

"We are very excited about the new Science Center," says Joseph Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Wesleyan.

"Coming at a time when we are actively promoting the excellence of Wesleyan science, we view the partnership as an opportunity to contribute to this exciting project and to inform others about our science programs. The contributions of our faculty and students at the Center would also be entirely consistent with Wesleyan's strong commitment to service in the community," he says.

Both PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center have a mission to foster public interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The new partnership will offer teachers graduate level credit through Wesleyan's Graduate Liberal Studies Program (GLSP) for those who enroll in the Science Center's Institute for Inquiry. The Science Center's Institute for Inquiry is a professional development program for Connecticut teachers of science. It's available to all teachers in grades K-12 who have an interest in teaching the sciences. Teachers must enroll, and be accepted to the program where they research and develop a unit of study pertaining to science.

This summer, the Institute accepted 150 Connecticut area teachers-an enrollment spike from 125 teachers last year. The program runs for six weeks starting each July and each week-long session trains approximately 30-40 teachers.

Christine Moses, director of Program Outreach for the Connecticut Science Center, says that the Center has always thought of Wesleyan's PIMMS as a leader in the state for the development of teachers in the sciences.

"This mutually beneficial partnership will teach teachers how to take their students through the inquiry process," she says. "When you engage students first in the sciences, instead of lecturing, they retain the information better."

Moses anticipates that next summer, even more teachers will apply to the Institute for Inquiry for credit through Wesleyan University, to prepare for the new state science cumulative testing requirements for grades 5 and 8 beginning in 2008.

The new partnership between PIMMS and The Connecticut Science Center also involves Wesleyan University faculty, who will help the Center write curricula for their science labs.

"Wesleyan's science and mathematics faculty have always shown a keen interest in working with teachers and students in Connecticut's schools," says Mike Zebarth, director of Wesleyan's PIMMS.

"This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the Wesleyan faculty to be involved with one of the State's key educational resources in science and math. Faculty members may serve in advisory capacities, present public seminars and work with PIMMS on the Center's Inquiry Institute. There will also be opportunities for Wesleyan's graduate and undergraduate students to be involved directly with the Center in the role of exhibit tour guides," he says.

Robert Rosenbaum, University Mathematics Professor at Wesleyan University, established the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science at Wesleyan in 1979. Annually, 1500 teachers attend one or more of PIMMS 50 high-quality professional development programs. For more information, contact Mike Zebarth at 860-685-6456 or visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/pimms/ or www.ctsciencecenter.org.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations