This summer, 17 local elementary school teachers from nine area schools will spend the better part of a week with Arkema scientists learning what’s new, exciting and effective in enhancing science education.
Now in its 17th year, Arkema Inc.’s Science Teacher Program has provided hands-on training to more than 800 teachers nationwide.
Locally, the 2012 program took place at the King of Prussia Research Center and US Headquarters from Aug. 6 - 9.
“Arkema’s Science Teacher Program is focused on hands-on learning for kids in grades 3 - 6 since education experts have identified this as a key gap in the science education of children and a contributor to a loss of interest as children enter middle school,” said Ryan Dirkx, Vice President of Research and Development. “We empower teachers in an age where strict school budgets and curriculum often limit access to the world of science. From custom-created science kits designed to make learning fun, to hands-on lessons, by the end of the program we’ll have teachers as excited about teaching science as their students will be about learning it.”
This year, teachers have selected science kits which explore electric circuits, ecosystems, food chemistry, structures of life, and ideas and inventions, among others. Teachers are encouraged to choose the topics they wish to focus on during the program and then bring new skills back to school in the fall.
Arkema developed the Science Teacher Program in 1996 to address a negative trend discovered while interviewing teachers in elementary and secondary education: teachers did not enjoy – and did not feel equipped to teach – hands-on science.
In many cases, science was taught in a very superficial way or not at all. Instead of addressing the deficiencies of science education with short-term remedies, Arkema developed the program to strategically focus on teacher development. Education experts advised that dramatic, illustrative hands-on science activities not only help students more clearly understand scientific principles, but can get them excited about science, sparking curiosity that may lead students to careers in science.
“I have no doubt that, through this program, we are helping nurture future scientists who will go on to provide many valuable contributions to our society,” said Dirkx.
Since its inception in 1996, nearly 1000 teachers have taken part in Arkema’s Science Teacher Program. These teachers have gone on to share their knowledge with tens of thousands of students nationwide – many from socio-economically disadvantaged homes. This year, dozens of elementary school teachers across the country will participate in communities where Arkema has manufacturing or research operations.
Local teachers who participated in the 2012 Arkema Science Teacher Program:
- Valley Forge Baptist Academy, Collegeville: Carol Cobb and Jane Bryson working with "Electric Circuits"
- Caley Elementary School, King of Prussia: Kristin Zincola and Kristin Rodgers working with "Structures of Life"
- Daniel Boone Middle School, Douglassville: Diane Frederic, working with "Food Chemistry"
A global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, approximately 13,200 employees and 9 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of $8.2 billion and holds leadership positions in all of its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands. The world is our inspiration.
For more information, visit Arkema's Science Teacher Program website.