An original grant to the University of Pennsylvania's Mathematics Department from NSF four years ago founded Access Science, an academically based community service project supported by Penn's Center for Community Partnerships. The new funding, which is approximately $500,000 for three years, will allow Access Science to continue through 2006.
"The program has made a significant positive impact in science teaching and learning," said Dennis DeTurck, the Penn mathematics professor who is leading the program. "The new NSF funding will enable us to expand our efforts to help individuals and groups of teachers to design and implement math and science curricula that are well-organized, engaging, hands-on and discovery-oriented."
West Philadelphia High School, Drew Elementary School, Lea Elementary School and University City High School benefit from this program in which Penn students and faculty provide professional development to urban teachers.
The grant also allows Penn students to assist teachers to develop and help implement experiments and activities so that student learning is enhanced by a more hands-on, inquiry-based approach to math and science.
The Penn students gain valuable insight through the program as well.
"The best way to learn the principles of math and science is to be able to explain them to others," said Cory Bowman, associate director at the Center for Community Partnerships.