Teachers go back to school at Knox College

Knox scientists played host to area teachers — finding the common threads in math and science and ways to teach in more a more interdisciplinary fashion.

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What does math have to do with chemistry?

Any high school teacher can tell you – or anyone who’s taken a chemistry class lately – a lot. And 17 high school math and chemistry teachers attended a workshop at Knox College this week to discuss that very question.

“Not many workshops are interdisciplinary,” said Diana Cermak, assistant professor of chemistry at Knox and co-leader of the teacher’s workshop. “This gives teachers a chance to get together to talk about issues both subjects face.”

The workshop was funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Knox was awarded the grant in 2004, and has used the money the past two years for a summer science camp for junior high girls. Cermak, who’s leading the workshop with Associate Professor of Mathematics Mary Armon, said the college plans to have another teacher’s workshop next year, possibly in biology and physics.

The aim of this year’s workshop is for teachers to discuss how math and chemistry can be taught together. To do that, the teachers are focusing on one concept that is used by both disciplines – geometry. Through grant money Knox provided teachers with Zome kits, 3-D models used in classrooms that will allow students to incorporate abstract reasoning through tactile and visual learning, that they can take back to their schools.

Read the full feature in the Register-Mail.