Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ky. class blends science, drama, rural outreach

At the start of the 20th century, the Chautauqua movement used traveling shows to bring education and entertainment to rural American communities. An Advanced Placement physics class at Rockcastle County High School in Mt. Vernon, Ky., is following in that tradition by producing their own Chautauqua series on great scientists, which was highlighted in this month's Rural Policy Matters, the publication of the Rural School and Community Trust.

"Students write a research paper on an important scientist and then turn their findings into a dramatic portrayal-complete with props that help demonstrate one of the concepts or principles pioneered by the scientist," according to the feature. "Then the students take their portrayals 'on the road' to fourth and fifth grade classes in the district, where they also read excerpts about the scientist from children's literature."

The idea came from the class' teacher, Stephanie Harmon, who started the project in 2005 as way to help her students develop the technical writing and speaking skills they would need in college. In addition, she said the project sparks an interest in science for the elementary classes that see the presentations. (Read more)

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