Taking It To The Street: How One Classroom Changed a Community


Intermediate/Higher Education/Adult Science/Education Teaching Practice

Randy Yerrick - Kumeyaay Elementary School


This exhibit describes a school and university collaboration teaching the science topics of force and motion with explicit connections to the lives, experiences, and concerns of children. In order to engage children in local community planning, development, and safety issues like speeding commuters, children began to use science to study questions like "How fast do cars actually travel in front of our school?"  This was a question that provided an authentic context for problem solving while allowng children the opportunity to directly influence and change their community.  Throughout the week children explored motion, speed, school and societal rules, and responsibility, in relation to the problem of cars speeding by during school hours as harried commuters raced through the community to make their work deadlines. 

Visitors to this exhibit can expect to observe:

  1. various pedagogical strategies for teaching difficult concepts like speed and deceleration,

  1. strategies for helping students interpret graphs,

  1. strategies for applying real world data to abstract concepts,

  1. and ways to connect and engage children in larger social issues as they act as a change agent in their own communities.