These projects and programs were funded by grants. They are making a difference in the lives of our students, our community, and the overall Otterbein experience.
OP2: OPERATION PHYSICS
January 24, 2012
This past summer, twenty-nine K-12 teachers enrolled in graduate coursework at Otterbein University and found themselves driving go-carts, launching trebuchets, building roller coasters, and “vacuum-packing” their classmates. Their play was, in reality, a creative approach to teaching and learning physics.
With grant funding of $108,584 from the Ohio Board of Regents’ Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program, Associate Professor of Education Dr. Wendy Sherman Heckler launched the second year of OP2: OPERATION PHYSICS at Otterbein, a program that provides professional development opportunities for local middle grades science teachers with the ultimate goal of ensuring that students receive challenging and meaningful learning experiences.
Led by a highly qualified instructional team, school teachers were provided with sequences of inquiry activities, demonstrations, readings, and projects for their students. The grant’s school district partners have been Morgan Local (Morgan County) and Whitehall City Schools (Franklin County), but teachers from many other communities have participated. Over the past two years, OP2 has served 59 teachers of grades 3-12 from 26 school districts around Central Ohio.
OP2 instructor and Black River Middle School science teacher Dave Reber presents the class with a challenge: create a density column with colors in the order shown, using only water, salt, and food coloring.
According to the teachers who enrolled, the quality of the OP2 program was outstanding. At completion of their coursework 100% of the first year’s participants indicated that the course had helped them become a more effective teacher in science. Similarly, 93% said the course would help them improve their students’ performance in science. One participant commented:
“I can’t say one negative thing about the program. It was interesting, the content was good…It was very hands-on, very active, and the resources we got were phenomenal. They were probably some of the best instructors I’ve ever had as far as giving us stuff that we can take back to our classroom and use right away. They explained the content to go along with that so that the teachers understood exactly what it was they were teaching. I really can’t speak highly enough about the instructors. They did a phenomenal job in our class.”
Heading into the third year of the program, the Operation Physics team is comprised of Dr. Heckler, Otterbein Physics Professor Dr. Dave Robertson, Black River Middle School teacher Mr. Dave Reber, and Columbus City Schools’ math/science leadership specialist Karen Richards. Together the team aims to further the Ohio Board of Regents’ goal of providing Ohio’s youth with a complete and significant education in the sciences.
Norwood Elementary School (Jefferson Local School) teacher – and good sport! – Alison Crawford gets “shrink wrapped” to demonstrate air pressure.
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