Date: June 25, 2008
Brian Cottam, Associate Director
Southern Utah University Office of Regional Services
CEDAR CITY — Elementary teachers in Iron, Washington, Kane, Beaver and Garfield counties will 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 are in the process of creating some 25 teaching kits that mirror Utah State Office of Education’s required science core for elementary students, said Peggy Wittwer, SUU assistant professor of elementary education. The kits should be available for the 2008-09 academic 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 — has been underwritten by a grant from SUU Regional Services’ Community Engagement Fund, which was established to stimulate and support the university’s efforts to reach beyond the campus to the community and region.
In addition to teachers in the five-county Southern Utah region, Wittwer said kits may also be available to teachers in some schools in Millard and Sevier counties.
Teachers will be able to choose from five theme-based kits, each of which will have two or three activities appropriate to different grade levels, Wittwer said. The kits can be checked out for 7 to 10 days.
Although a refundable deposit may be required, Wittwer said she doesn’t anticipate charging teachers to use the kits. Kits that contain consumable items may require a small non-refundable fee, she said.
“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 the intent of the Community Engagement Fund, said Wes Curtis, SUU Director of 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 available on our campus.”
The Community Engagement Fund grants approximately $10,000 annually to SUU faculty and staff to encourage and enhance community engagement activities. Grants may be used to fund programs and seminars, travel, materials, or community and business assistance efforts.
“Through continued successful community initiatives and projects, it is our expectation that this fund will increase in future years,” Curtis said.
The science kits are scheduled to be available at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year. Teachers interested in checking out kits may contact Wittwer at 435.586.7809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.