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Jun 30, 2004

Teachers upgrade math and science skills

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School may be out for the summer, but this doesn’t mean Belize’s educators are sleeping late. As News 5′s Patrick Jones discovered, the process of learning never takes a break.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

It sounds, and even looks like a typical classroom, but the teachers of Holy Redeemer Primary School have traded places with their students to learn new ways of teaching math and science. Joey Garcia, a volunteer from California and one of the facilitators of the workshop, says math and science are a part of everyday life, and if children learn how to connect the two, they will excel in school.

Joey Garcia, Workshop Facilitator

?There is a relationship to everything we do. An artist needs math skills to be able to determine spatial relationships. And science happens every day. When we?re cooking, that?s science as well, so it touches all parts of our lives.?

The workshop is titled the ?Mystery of Math and the Magic of Science.? Principal of Holy Redeemer Primary School, Molly Hulett, says the new techniques will help to address challenges faced by both students and teachers.

Molly Hulett, Principal, Holy Redeemer

?We are getting a lot of ideas, different strategies to approach these two subjects that we find kids tend to don?t like. And I guess it?s the approach, and for the past two days we experienced different strategies in game forms and so forth. And I think teachers will be able to use it and make it more interesting.?

The forty-four teachers attending the workshop have embraced the new approaches to teaching math and science. But the participants were stumped on day three of the training, when a teddy bear went missing from one of the classrooms. The challenge was for the teachers to use math and science to solve the mystery.

Joey Garcia

?We are learning hands-on games that the teachers can use to teach the kids that teach problem solving, not in the usual way, not the word kind of problem solving equations, but problem solving from the stand point of how to determine by a murder mystery or the mystery that we set up today for the infant level is who borrowed Mr. Bear. So there is a little crime scene and then they learn how to problem solve their way through by analyzing the evidence to get an end result that will determine who borrowed Mr. Bear.?

And after several minutes of analysis and discussion, who borrowed the stuffed animal?

Fidelia Cuellar, Standard Five Teacher

?Well that is still a mystery. We?re working, we?re confused right now so I have to get back with my group and help them.?

Patrick Jones

?You don?t know who gone with the bear??

Fidelia Cuellar

?I don?t yet.?

Fidelia Cuellar, a Standard Five teacher, says when she returns to the classroom in September it will be with renewed vigour.

Fidelia Cuellar

?Well basically this workshop is giving us the opportunity to revisit math strategies and science strategies and how to use those, incorporate those into different subject areas that we do teach in our classroom from infant one right up to standard six. It has been very informative, very refreshing, and definitely strategies that we can use in the classroom, tactile things that we can do with the kids to help them improve their math confidence and science.?

Patrick Jones, for News Five.

The team of volunteers will return next year to do training in creative writing and reading comprehension skills.

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