City attracts teachers for training

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For the second week in a row, elementary and middle school teachers from across west-central Alabama have come to Demopolis High School to participate in the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) training sessions.

AMSTI provides group training for the teachers and gives them a chance to give ideas to others in their district. Teachers from nine different school systems were on hand to pass along information that they may have as well as learn from the specialists provided by AMSTI.

The statewide program is funded by the Alabama Department of Education, and is only available to those schools who apply and meet the criteria. This is the second year in a row that DHS has hosted the event.

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This week’s focus on science allowed teachers new insight on how to give their students all of the course requirements while making things fun and enjoyable. For example, teachers of sixth-grade children could be found in class learning about natural disasters and how earthquakes work by measuring the force of friction between two blocks sliding against each other, while fourth-grade teachers were learning about perpetual motion through racing cars.

“They show us new ways of teaching the standard core curriculum,” said fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Lay. “For example, we have to make ecosystems (as apart of the curriculum), so we made our own full ecosystem out of two-liter bottles. There was a terrarium and an aquarium with plants and animals.”

These experiments that the teachers learn provide great ways for them to teach a subject but also to open doors for questions to be asked. One experiment can lead to another as more and more questions are asked.

“It’s just a great way for kids to see (what we are teaching) and ask questions,” said Lay. “It’s better than just throwing all of the terms at them. This is hands-on.”

The teachers will continue to learn the science portion of the AMSTI program through Friday and will take their newly gained knowledge to work in the school year.