Another Successful SEPUP Training

Three SEPUP professional development activities took place this summer. Eighteen 6-12th grade teachers completed thirty hours of hands-on training in the use of four SEPUP kits in June. The kits included The Waste Hierarchy: Where is Away?, Investigating Groundwater: The Fruitvale Story, Toxic Waste: A Teaching Simulation, and Chemical Survey: Solutions and Pollution. Teachers took a field trip to visit two sites that apply groundwater and waste disposal concepts related to the ones they studied in the training: EcoSystems Institute at Phinizy Swamp in Augusta and the Defense Waste Processing Facility at SRS. Dr. Gene Eidson and Michele Berry provided a firsthand look at a constructed wetlands system that helps to clean up waste water and return it to the Savannah River. Dr. Kim Cauthen of Defense Waste Processing Facility provided a rare and interesting experience for the teachers to see the Savannah River Site's contribution to environmental protection and restoration.

During an awards reception on the final day of the program, three teachers were recognized for their innovative use of the materials with their students and for sharing their knowledge and SEPUP materials with colleagues. Barbara Smith of Hepzibah High School, Amy Mealing of Davidson Fine Arts School in Richmond County, Georgia, both receive the SEPUP User Award for 1997-98. In addition, Pamela Ferris, a long time supporter of the program and instructor, received recognition for her contributions.

In addition to the week long training, two six-hour SEPUP workshops took place in July involving 47 more teachers. Upper elementary and middle school teachers in the Chemicals, Health, Environment and Me 2 (CHEM-2) workshop explored six of the fifteen instructional modules in this program including "My Sweet Tooth," "Mystery Spill," and "Hazardous Home". Veteran SEPUP users participated in a day long exploration of Plastics In Our Lives. Participants received a kit of hands-on materials and lessons to use with their students. These two workshops were presented by Dr. Mark Koker and Pam Ferris and were sponsored by Westinghouse Savannah River Company. Both provide excellent ways of teaching the South Carolina Mathematics and Science Curriculum Standards and the Georgia Quality Curriculum objectives.

Middle School Students

STEP- UP to the Challenge

Students and teachers at A.L. Corbett Middle school enlivened their summer with four weeks of explorations in science, math, communications, and technology. The Science and Technology Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Populations (STEP-UP) involved thirty-five students and seven teachers in a trek across South Carolina through SCMAPS* activities, characterization of local soils using GLOBE* protocols, and investigating groundwater with SEPUP* materials. During this second year of the program, STEP-UP provided a unique opportunity for teachers to collaborate in planning and implementing exemplary instructional units. The integrated curriculum they developed and taught blended earth science concepts, mathematics problem-solving skills, map-reading and orienteering, literature and writing applications, and computer use.

The STEP-UP students, representing A.L. Corbett and Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle Schools, were the first in South Carolina to post soil data on the website for the GLOBE program. They used what they learned about soils in their area to make Adobe bricks which they subjected to stress and durability tests. After investigating the waterways and drainage system of South Carolina and studying some basic geometric relationships found in architectural structures, the students then constructed toothpick bridges and tested them for strength. They vicariously traveled across South Carolina using topographic maps, lithographs, and shaded relief maps. Their weekly "real" field trips took them to places such as Hunting Island to learn about sea turtles and the maritime forest and to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta. Students and teachers learned first hand what a rich and interesting state and heritage we have.

The elementary, middle and high school teachers who developed and implemented this Eisenhower professional development program described its benefits as follows:

While the students enjoyed the hands-on science and mathematics, the field trips and, as one student phrased it, "the NASA man" who visited us were the biggest hits with them.

STEP-UP was a way to make teaching and learning science and math interesting, relevant, and enjoyable for teachers and students. For more information about the program contact Gwen Johnson at (803) 641-3552.


* GLOBE: Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment

SEPUP Science Education for Public Understanding Program

SCMAPS: South Carolina Maps and Aerial Photographic Systems

High School/Middle School

Science and Math Made Easier with CBL

This summer, under the auspices of the Eisenhower Grant Program, the RPSEC and the Chemistry Department at USCA offered the first of several three semester-hour courses focusing on the use of Calculator-based Laboratories (CBL). The South Carolina Science and Math Standards at all levels require inquiry-based instruction such as that demonstrated in this course. At the high school level, twenty percent of the time in science courses should involve laboratory experiences. During the CBL course this summer, teacher comfort with the science and math content and the execution of the experiments were top priority from the outset. As a result, both high school and middle school teacher-participants felt confident that this course will make their jobs of communicating math and science according to the state standards much easier this year.

The unique use of instructional and investigation time and school district support made the course beneficial to the teachers. The labs were conducted at a pace that allowed each participant to complete the work without rushing, and both the pre-lab and post-lab sessions were used to answer all questions. Conceptual understanding took precedence over equations and calculations, making the integration of math and science suitable at both high and middle schools. School districts of the participants are supporting the teachers by providing equipment for them to implement Calculator-based Laboratory instruction in the fall.

If you missed out on this great, tuition-free experience, you will have another chance. A similar course will be offered next summer for a statewide audience. Recruitment will begin in early fall. Since only 40 slots are expected, plan to reserve yours early. For more information or to pre-register, contact Dr. Kutty Pariyadath, Chair of the Chemistry Department at (803) 641-3429 or visit in room 310 of the Science Building at USCA.

Agnes Pflumm and the Stonecreek Science Fair:

A Workshop by Teacher/Author Merrie Southgate

Mark your calandars for October 10, 1998, 9:00am-3:00pm. All elementary and middle school teachers who want to take the pain out of the science fair or simply find new and enjoyable way to teach children the scientific process will want to attend this innovative workshop. The workshop will be held at USC Aiken. Workshop participants will receive a signed copy of the book, Agnes Pflumm and the Stonecreek Science Fair; a rational for teaching science through creativity, detailed lesson plans for a science project unit, tips for preparing for the science fair, strategies for coping with parents, procrastination, and other potential catastrophes, and a good time!

There is a $40 registration fee, which includes lunch, a personal copy of the book and all printed materials. Advanced payment and registration are required. Call the Center no later than Friday, September 25th at 641-3313 or (from Augusta) 278-1967 (ext. 3313). Sponsored by the CSRA Math & Science Hub and the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center.

Center of Excellence in Educational Technology Upgrades to Version 2

The Center of Excellence in Educational Technology (CEET) Upgrades to Version 2, which means it begins year two of the project. The Centers of Excellence program is sponsored by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The major goal of the Centers of Excellence program is to enhance the preparation of preservice teachers. There are now eleven centers across South Carolina including centers at Clemson, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Furman, USC Aiken, USC Columbia, and Winthrop. Each Center focuses on a specific content area, therefore, the CEET focuses on the incorporation of educational technology. To meet the main goal of the Centers of Excellence program, CEET works with schools and colleges of education across the state.

This year, the CEET will hold two workshops for education faculty on how to incorporate educational technology. There will also be a meeting of educational technology leaders to discuss the present and future roles of technology in education. The CEET is sponsoring the Technology to Enrich Mathematics and Science (TEMS) program as a new aspect of the RPSEC student programs. The goal with this program is to offer educational technology to K-12 students and provide a hands-on environment for preservice teachers to work with students using technology.

A major focus of the CEET is also working with inservice teachers. Included here are graduate classes, the Mobile Instructional Computer Classroom (MICC) and a variety of workshop offerings. Dr. Gary Senn is the director of the CEET. Mr. John Hutchens is the Educational Technology Specialist and Dr. Thomas Smyth is the Director of Faculty Training.

Mobile Instruction Computer Classroom

Available at Checkout

The Mobile Instructional Computer Classroom (MICC) is a classroom of 20 Macintosh PowerBook Computers. The MICC was funded by the RPSEC and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and is administered by the Center of Excellence in Educational Technology. The computers have the following software: ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, Museum Madness, Field Trip To the Sea, Out Numbered, Math Blaster Mystery, and Decisions Decisions the Environment. There are also networking cables so that one or more machines can be connected to a printer. There is not a printer available to send with the MICC, however.

The MICC is available for checkout to all schools in CSRA Hub of South Carolina. In order to use the MICC in your classroom, you must attend a workshop on how to use and care for the Macintosh PowerBook computers.

A workshop is scheduled for Friday, September 11, 1998 from 4:00 - 5:00 and another for Tuesday, September 15 from 3:30 - 4:30. Please phone the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center at 641-3313 or send email to rpsec@aiken.sc.edu to reserve a spot in the workshop.

Science Olympics 1998

The 1998 Science Olympics will be held at USC Aiken on Saturday October 24 from 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM. This year, the Science Olympics will be held in conjunction with Science Education Enrichment Day (SEED). We invite all high schools in the CSRA to participate. A complete registration packet including application forms, rules, descriptions, and schedule will be sent to the Science Chair at the high schools. The events include: Science Quiz, Titration Race, Vertebrate Anatomy, Paper Tower, Ping Pong Ball Catapult, Earth Science Practical, South Carolina Wildlife, Orienteering, and Mousetrap Dragster.

SCESTA Currently Taking Membership Applications

The South Carolina Earth Science Teachers Assocation for Elementary , Middle and High School Teachers is currently taking Membership Applications. Dues are $5.00 renewable each November.

Goals: Many challenges face us in science education. As South Carolina embarks on its new curriculum and testing program, which includes earth science at all levels, SCESTA hopes to support teachers in their efforts to educate our children.


  1. to serve as a forum and resource for earth science teachers, at all levels, across the state
  2. to keep teachers informed of science opportunities at South Carolina colleges and universities
  3. to publish a newsletter giving current information on local, state and national earth science activities
  4. to recognize and reward outstanding earth science educators throughout South Carolina

For more information contact: Leslie Sanford; 206 Karenway; Greenwood, SC 29646; (864) 941-5780.

Copyright © 1998 by the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.

URL: http://rpsec.usca.sc.edu/ /newsletter/98sept/micellaneous.html (September, 1998)

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center
Center of Excellence in Educational Technology
University of South Carolina Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801