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1 June 2006

IMPACTSEED  Set June 5 - 16

By Eddie Burkhalter
JSU News Bureau

With the common goal of creating more dynamic and hands-on classroom lectures, high school teachers of chemistry and physics will meet at Jacksonville State University this summer to train while their students enjoy the summer sun. Dr. Nouredine Zettili, a physics professor at JSU who runs the program, took some time out to answer the following questions to provide an overview.

Q: What takes place during your Summer Institute?

A: The Summer Institute, which will run this year between June 05-16, 2006, is an intensive, two-week long professional development program is offered to about 25 in-service and pre-service  teachers. The training consists of a series of lectures and hands-on-activities dealing with the basic concepts of  chemistry and physics, class demonstrations, and a number of essential experiments as outlined in the Physics and Chemistry Core sections of the Alabama Course of  Study.  We offer   daily lectures followed by labs. Every day the teachers receive seven hours of course contents and lab work in chemistry and physics.

Q:  Who can attend?

A: Any teacher from Alabama who teaches chemistry and/or physics. We have been having some out-of-state teachers,  from Georgia, attending IMPACTSEED as well.

Q: What's the goal of this project?

A: The primary goal of IMPACTSEED (IMproving Physics And Chemistry Teaching in SEcondary EDucation)  is to bring the preparation of secondary education chemistry and physics teachers in alignment with state and national standards so that every student receives high quality instruction from knowledgeable, well-trained, and well-supported teachers. The project is intended to help teachers achieve a double aim:

     (a) to make physics and chemistry understandable and fun to learn within a hands-on, inquiry-oriented setting;

     (b) to overcome the fear-factor for physics and chemistry among students.

IMPACTSEED offers hands-on, inquiry-based instruction with a strong correlation to the Alabama Course of Study and national standards with primary emphasis on having students discover rather than memorize and with teachers questioning rather than telling.

Q: Which institution funds IMPACTSEED?

A: IMPACTSEED is  funded by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE); it is part of the No-Child Left Behind  Act which was initiated by President George Bush Jr.

Q:What are the major components of this project?

A: IMPACTSEED has five major components:

(1) an intensive two-week summer professional development program;

(2) five technology workshops during the academic year;

(3) sustained, year-round on-site support to the teachers;

(4) year-round physics and chemistry hotlines to offer immediate support to the teachers when needed;

(5) a website to disseminate the results of the project and to list useful resources.

Q:  How can teachers benefit from attending?

A: In addition to acquiring contents knowledge that will help them in their classrooms, the teachers will receive from us year-round support in a number of ways:

(a) we offer them professional development  five times during the year;

(b) we visit their classrooms and give workshops and classroom demonstrations to the students;

(c) we take chemistry/physics equipment to their classrooms to help them cover topics within a hands-on approach;

(d) every teacher that participates is offered this year a number of teaching kits/modules to take to their classrooms. This year, for instance, we are offering to every teacher about $2,500.00 worth of teaching kits/modules plus books and other resources.

So, IMPACTASEED is having a direct impact on chemistry/physics classrooms through knowledge and hands-on gadgets and modules.

Q:  Could you comment on the five technology workshops?

A: This consists of a  series of five different workshops; they are offered on Saturdays during the academic year. These workshops are an effective mechanism for bringing technology  into the classroom. The five  workshops deal with projects designed to help the teachers  build  and test  a number of  devices that can be reproduced by their secondary education students. Every teacher is provided with a lab kit containing basic components necessary for building these devices. This is  a suitable way of making chemistry and physics attractive to secondary education students. The technology workshops are powerful tools to reinforce an inquiry-oriented approach to chemistry and physics

Q: How long has IMPACTSEED been given?

A: For four consecutive years now.

Q: How long will IMPACTSEED will be offered?

A: We intend to offer IMPACTSEED for a number of years to come. As long as the need is there among the teachers, we will continue seeking funding from ACHE. We cannot cover the shortage of qualified high school chemistry and physics teachers in three or five years. This is a long term project. Since we are having direct impact on the education of chemistry and physics at the high school level in Alabama, we will continue offering our support to the teachers and to their high schools as long as the need is there.

Q: What information would you like to see publicized?

A: For further information, please visit IMPACTSEED's website:

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