Grant allows WSU to help expand science learning in Clarkston


PULLMAN, WA – Thanks to a federal grant, Washington State University education experts will work with school districts on both sides of the state – including those in Clarkston and Pomeroy – to improve science and math instruction. The Mathematics and Science Partnership grant will provide $1.7 million for each of the next three years, and will be shared by six education organizations statewide.

In one project, WSU College of Education faculty on the Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses are partnering with the Clarkston and Pomeroy school districts and Educational Service District 123.

From WSU:

“We will provide professional learning opportunities for 36 elementary and middle school teachers,” said Andy Cavagnetto, WSU associate professor, who heads the project. “They will learn how to immerse students in doing science in order to learn science, how to give them a rich understanding of scientific principles and practices as called for in the forthcoming science education standards.”

Other College of Education faculty members involved are Judith Morrison, Kathryn Baldwin and Olusola Adesope. Also contributing their expertise are Georgia Boatman, regional science coordinator at ESD 123; and WSU faculty members Catherine Cooper, geophysics; Shane Brown, engineering, and Asaph Cousins, plant metabolism and physiology.

The project is called “Enhancing Understanding of Scientific Concepts and Practices with the Science Writing Heuristic Approach, Concept Mapping & Instructional Design.”The other project, “Increasing STEM Achievement Through Multi-Level Learning Inquiry Teams – STEM-LIT,” is headed by ESD 112 in southwestern Washington. It will involve 40 teachers from sixth through eighth grades in the Evergreen and Vancouver school districts.

WSU Vancouver faculty members participating are Tamara Holmlund Nelson, Kristin Lesseig, Alex Dimitrov and David Slavit.

“The focus is on development of middle school math and science teachers’ content knowledge and on student-centered instruction through the use of ‘design challenges,’ which are integrated, project-based learning experiences,” Slavit said.

Other partners in the project are Clark College and SEH America

Mia Carlson, news director for KZBG in Clarkston, wrote this report.