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December 11, 2013

Purdue's Science Express to partner with Gary schools

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's Science Express, a high school outreach program, will partner with the Gary Community School Corp. to help northwest Indiana science teachers and their students learn how to conduct experiments using modern analytical technologies and methods.

Through the program, funded by a $230,000 Indiana Commission for Higher Education Improving Teacher Quality grant, Purdue personnel will provide participating teachers with intensive professional development, technology integration and long-term support.

Since 1991, Science Express has delivered research-grade analytical instruments and equipment to Indiana high school teachers to give students a hands-on experience.

"Students grasp science concepts more completely when they can touch and see real results using real equipment," said William Bayley, Purdue University K-12 chemistry outreach and Science Express director. "For example, one of our biology labs brings a real horse skeleton to class. In physics we work with guitars to learn about sound and vibration. Our chemistry lab brings high-performance liquid and gas chromatography machines so students can analyze different substances and discover that they are composed of many components."

The Gary partnership will begin next summer when 25 high school teachers and paraprofessionals from Northwest Indiana will complete an intensive two-week Science Express workshop. Science Express will work with the teachers in their classrooms during the school year. A second two-week workshop will be held in summer 2015.

Science Express will help the teachers better understand science content, utilize inquiry-based teaching methods and authentic assessment, and align their curricula to state standards.

Teachers will receive training on the theory, use and care of analytical instruments. They will have access to more than $750,000 in Purdue equipment for use in their classrooms.

Four Science Express coordinators will work on classroom integration of the labs provided by the program: Bayley; David C. Eichinger, associate professor of science education; Steven C. Smith, K-12 earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences outreach coordinator; and Isidore Julien, biology outreach coordinator. Bayley, Smith and Julien are in the College of Science, and Eichinger is in the College of Education.

In 2012-2013, Science Express visited 37 schools, provided professional development, lesson ideas and resources to 113 teachers, and provided 23,397 student-scientific instrument interactions.

More information on Science Express is available at http://www.chem.purdue.edu/sciexpress/

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources: Bill Bayley, 765-494-7861, wbayley@purdue.edu

Michael Davids, College of Education director of communications, 765-494-0568, davids3@purdue.edu