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Science in the Rockies offers thrills with learning

Editor’s note: Charter school advocate, Dougco parent and newly minted EdNews Parent school choice expert Karin Piper attended Science in the Rockies and wrote about the event for EdNews Parent.

Imagine a note like this coming home from your child’s classroom teacher:

Last year, we had a few explosions, set stuff on fire, made foam, and caused Principal Johnson to glow in the dark. Welcome to my classroom!

I don’t know about you, but if that note came home with my kids, he wouldn’t be the only one psyched about the coming school year.


About 150 teachers experienced a training workshop late last week and learned to be exactly that kind of teacher through Steve Spangler’s Science in the Rockies 2011.

Steve Spangler, a former science teacher himself, has taken his unique combination of boyish inquisitiveness and professional expertise and packaged it into a humor-laced, digestible format for his teaching peers.

Over the course of two days I watched teachers evolve from that first day, I-don’t-know-you-people-body-language to full-on belly laughing – showing real evidence they were not just feeling like kids, they were learning like kids.

These teachers swung tubes over their heads, made ginormous windbags out of Diaper Genie refills, walked on glass, and built potato guns. (No, that is not a type-o. I said “potato gun” and “teachers” in the same sentence.) Those were only some of the 75 kid-tested, teacher-approved science activities covered in Spangler’s standard, and approved, curriculum.

What is Science in the Rockies?

Science in the Rockies shows teachers how to use proven best practices and teaching strategies in combination with some amazing experiments to make science more exciting, more engaging, more interactive and more meaningful to teachers and students.

Extra credit goes to Spangler for not pushing a sales pitch on merchandise and materials. As a matter of fact, he goes out of his way to tell you how to find stuff on a teacher’s budget, and openly shares his recipes.

So, how does your kid’s school get a piece of this?

Contact Steve Spangler’s team about boot camps, special events, and – of course – Science in the Rockies 2012 at his website http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/teacher-training.

If you love what you see as much as I do, then maybe have a chat with your PTO or PTA about raising funds for a few teachers to attend, or invite him to your district’s professional development day.

You’ll have a gas! Pun totally intended.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.