California State University, Long Beach
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Science Education Receives Toyota Grant

Published: June 15, 2010

CSULB’s Department of Science Education has received a two-year grant from the Toyota USA Foundation totaling $237,170. The grant will support the Toyota Intensive Summer Science Institute, a program aimed at helping local elementary school teachers improve their classroom science teaching. In addition to funding the program, the grant will also be used towards a small stipend and instructional materials for the teachers.

“We thank the Toyota USA Foundation for its generous support of the program,” said department chair Laura Henriques. “As a result, we are now able to fund up to 30 participants, where we previously could only support 25. The grant will help increase the skills of our science teachers and in turn build interest among students in the important fields of science and technology.”

The program begins this summer with a two-week institute from June 28-July 9 on teaching methods for physical sciences. Teachers in the program can participate for up to two years. California science education content is similar in second and fourth grades, and in third and fifth grades, so second- and fourth-grade teachers will study force and motion, and electricity and magnetism, while third- and fifth-grade teachers will work together on energy, light and chemistry.

Participating teachers were recruited from Long Beach, ABC, Downey and Norwalk school districts and will work together in pairs in order to encourage interest from learning together. “Our hope is that there is more likelihood for impact if teachers are working together,” said Henriques. “If we have them paired, they can see what is being done in different grades. It helps build some vertical communication.”

The teachers will then apply lessons learned this summer at the Long Beach Boys and Girls Club “so they can see how students interact with the content and lessons before they bring it into their own classrooms.”

The program continues through the academic year with workshops and seminars on campus and will be featured at the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) conference with CSULB faculty. In 2011, the program will focus on space science. Teachers in the program this summer are encouraged to stay on.

The Toyota USA Foundation is a $100 million charitable endowment created to support education programs serving kindergarten through 12th grade students and their teachers in the United States, with an emphasis on mathematics, science and environmental science. For additional information about the Toyota USA Foundation, visit www.toyota.com/foundation.

For more information on the Summer Science Institute, visit www.csulb.edu/~lhenriqu/ISSI.htm or contact Elena McComas, 562/985-4801.

–Anne Ambrose