Moss Point teachers learn to energize math, science students

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - With more emphasis these days on math and science, teachers are looking for innovative ways to get their students excited about those subjects. And for years, the Moss Point School District has been working to boost test scores.

On Friday, a national education foundation hosted a workshop to give Moss Point teachers some "electrifying lessons."

"You guys get your batteries and your conductor and your bulb ready," Lynn Carr told the group of teachers gathered in the library.

Carr is the national trainer for AIMS, which stands for Activities Integrating Math and Science" She headed-up the Celebration of Science workshop for fourth and fifth grade math and science teachers in Moss Point. Her job was to help the teachers get their students energized about those challenging subjects.

"It's the best thing to get kids excited about science, so they take ownership of their own learning and, in fact, want to know more," said Carr.

The approach involves more hands-on activities, instead of just listening to lectures and reading textbooks. For instance, the teachers used common household items to generate electricity and they saw how mirrors can help you multiply.

It was the first time this type of training was offered in south Mississippi. The lessons are connected to Common Core Standards, which are being implemented in all Mississippi schools.

"Being able to actually show students how it works, it will help them when they do the state testing, because they will be able to think back through those steps they've done and apply the method," said fifth grade science teacher Jennifer Hensley. "I love learning all these hands-on activities you can do that are very cost efficient and you can do them with your whole class."

"We say: Hands on, minds on, hearts in. So they love the learning and they remember by doing it," said Carr.

The activities are supposed to get every child engaged in learning, whether they're falling behind or the smartest in the class. So teachers can expect to see more light bulbs go off when those math and science lessons start to make sense.

"Fifth and eighth graders are tested on the state level and this makes children more engaged, therefore, it increases their learning and performance on their assessments," said Etta Byrd, K-5 Curriculum and Testing Director for the Moss Point School District. "It also helps them to appreciate science more, because they can apply it to real life situations."

"You just don't sit and get, you do it. And by doing, you know and you've increased your long term memory so you remember it beyond the test, beyond the week. You'll know for the rest of your life," said Carr.

BP provided a $7,531 grant to fund the program.  And the teachers get to keep all the supplies for their classrooms.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.