After leading fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students through different experiments during the Math & Science Trail, elementary education majors are better prepared to interact with their students.
Six students and a teacher from each of the 40 Fort Worth Independent School District elementary schools involved in the Math & Science Trail on Monday and Wednesday rotated through four different stations at different monuments or landmarks across campus.
Education majors received many opportunities to interact with students, Sarah Quebec-Fuentes coordinator of the Math & Science Trail, said. But during the trail, the education students taught the same activity four times. This allowed them to reflect and improve each time they worked with a new group of students.
“We get to take what we’ve learned in our classrooms and put it to use with real students who are learning as we go, as opposed to someone who is playing the role of a student,” junior early childhood education major Courtney Kinson said.
The teachers who came from each school were able to help by showing education students what questions to ask to keep the younger students on task and interested, Kinson said.
“This is a real world experience,” junior early childhood education major Maria Maldonado said. “We’re responsible for actually teaching the kids, so it’s nice to get some practice and be prepared for what we are going to be doing in a year when we graduate.”
Quebec-Fuentes said the education students prepared to teach each station ahead of time, so they would know how to teach each lesson and help students work through problems.
Some of the activities included identifying different shapes that make up the front of Robert Carr Chapel and learning how to test water for different chemicals at Frog Fountain.
“Because there is so much emphasis on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, we want to really get students interested in those subject
areas,” Quebec-Fuentes said.
Diane Rainone, science lead and teacher at Daggett Montessori School, said the activities throughout the Trail pushed students to think outside of the box. She said she appreciated how the Math & Science Trail promoted innovative thinking.
At each station the FWISD students took turns being readers, reporters or task leaders. After they completed all four stations, the students were rewarded with a certificate of participation and pizza for lunch, Quebec-Fuentes said.
The teachers from each school were able to gain something also. Quebec-Fuentes said they participated in a Professional Development Day, where they learned how to implement a Math & Science Trail at their own campuses.
Chesapeake Energy sponsored the event along with the Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education within the College of Education.