LIVERMORE, Calif — More than 100 high school and community college science teachers from throughout California are slated to arrive at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Friday for the second annual Edward Teller Science & Technology Education Symposium.
The teachers will spend two days talking with scientists and engineers about their latest research, attending hands-on workshops and touring state-of-the art research laboratories.
"When Lab researchers present science that is both cutting edge and relevant to education, both students and teachers are the immediate benefactors," said Don Correll, director of the Lab's Science & Technology Education Program. "Teachers re-energized about science research from their symposium workshops are able to provide the spark that can be used to ignite the interest of their students. If students are interested, then they will learn."
Director Emeritus Edward Teller is scheduled to address the participants on Friday afternoon. That evening, they will attend a dinner at Garre Vineyards featuring keynote speaker John Gage, chief researcher and director of the science office for Sun Microsystems, Inc., who will talk about the future of the internet in education.
"Based on the evaluations from the participants last year, this symposium is extremely valued by teachers due to its professional development activities," said Richard Farnsworth, who is coordinating the symposium for STEP. "Approximately 25 percent of the registrants are returning from last year."
The symposium, which is co-sponsored by the Lab, Sigma Xi, UC Davis Department of Applied Science, the Edward Teller Education Center, The International Society for Optical Engineering, the Optical Society of America and BioRad Inc., is endorsed by the California Science Teachers Association.
The program provides a bridge linking the science classroom with the research laboratory, Farnsworth said. Teachers are looking for current applications of science to help make their instruction relevant.
"It often takes eight to 10 years to get the information that comes out of research laboratories into the classroom. With this symposium, the Lab and symposium cosponsors are building a bridge so teachers see how today’s science research can affect their science education," Farnsworth said. "That kind of link makes the science they're teaching more meaningful to their students. We're giving the teachers materials that come out of our laboratories that they can take back to their classrooms immediately."
The educators will participate in workshops in physics, chemistry, biology or environmental science and at the conclusion of the symposium, will receive a complete set of lessons and instruction materials to use in their classrooms.
In the biology workshop, Lab biologist Joanna Albala will show the teachers protein expression and purification techniques.
In the chemistry session, Lab scientists Bryant Hudson, Jean Moran and Allen Grayson will demonstrate water quality sampling, data analysis and interpretation.
Participants in the environmental track will learn about radiocarbon dating with Lab scientist Andrea Cook.
In the physics workshop, physicists Chris Ebbers and Joel Speth will explain how light is used to transfer information and the participants will learn how to construct a polariscope.
Details on the workshop can be found at http://education.llnl.gov/symposium2001 .