Date: January 21, 2009
Brian Cottam, Associate Director
Southern Utah University Office of Regional Services
CEDAR CITY — Elementary teachers in Iron, Washington, Kane, Beaver and Garfield counties now have access to instructional resources that will make teaching science easier and more engaging to students, thanks to the cooperative effort of the Cedar Mountain Science Camps for Kids and Southern Utah University Regional Services.
CMSC staffers have created 10 teaching kits that mirror the Utah State Office of Education’s required science core for elementary students, said Peggy Wittwer, SUU assistant professor of elementary education and director of the Cedar Mountain Science Camps.
She said her staff is in the process of creating 10 additional kits, which will be available before the end of the school year.
“Elementary teachers are desperate for materials to teach science in the core,” Wittwer said. “The idea is to get in their hands some tried and true methods of teaching science.”
The cost to create the kits — approximately $2,000 — was underwritten by a grant from SUU Regional Services’ Community Engagement Fund, established to stimulate and support the university faculty’s efforts to reach beyond the campus to the community and region.
In addition to teachers in the five‐county southwest Utah region, Wittwer said kits are also available to teachers in some schools in Millard and Sevier counties.
Teachers may choose from five theme‐based kits, each of which will have two or three activities appropriate to different grade levels, Wittwer said. The kits are currently available may be checked out for 7 to 10 days.
A refundable deposit is required, but Wittwer said she doesn’t charge teachers to use the kits. Teachers must provide the consumable items (glue, paper or candy) required for some kits.
“Supply budgets being what they are in public education, many teachers simply cannot afford to buy the materials they need to effectively implement the required science curriculum,” she said. “We are grateful to SUU Regional Services for its support.”
The science camp’s resource kits are a perfect fit for SUU’s Regional Services role, said Wesley Curtis, SUU Vice President for Government Relations and Regional Services.
“One of the primary goals of SUU Regional Services is to ensure that community engagement and service becomes institutionalized as part of SUU's identity, culture, and commitments,” Curtis said. “To this end, we strive to facilitate community access to the resources and expertise available on our campus. The Cedar Mountain Science Camps and their new teaching kits are a great example of this effort.”
The science kits are now available and may be checked out by contacting Wittwer at 435.586.7809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cutline: Peggy Wittwer, SUU assistant professor of education and director of the Cedar Mountain Science Camps, demonstrates how to use a science teaching kit to three elementary education students in the university’s Elementary Education lab. The students are (left to right) Annalies Keate of Cedar City, Karli Fait of Taylorsville, and Kara Nay of Lake in the Hills, Ill. Elementary teachers in southwest Utah may borrow one of 10 teaching kits created to make teaching science easier and more engaging to students. The kits are available thanks to a cooperative effort of CMSC and SUU Regional Services.
Photo Credit: SUU Regional Services