HPs $90,000 Hands-on Science grants are provided on a competitive basis to
applying school districts in communities where HP employees and their families live . Each
grant spans a three-year period, although HPs partnership with grantee school
districts is expected to continue beyond that.
Evaluations of the program have indicated that the program is
successful in moving partner school districts to modular hands-on science curriculum
supported by materials replenishment systems, professional development of teachers,
assessment, and administrative and community support. HP plans to have an independent
evaluator look at the programs progress.
As a precondition to receiving a HP grant, a school district must
formulate a leadership team of school administrators, teachers, and at least one HP
scientist or engineer representative for training for one week at the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C., in an National Science
Resources Centers Leadership Institute. The grantee school district also agrees
to adopt a hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum for its K-6 science program, including
appropriate instructional materials, to engage in professional staff development to help
its K-6 teachers learn how to teach in a hands-on, inquiry-based manner, and to create for
itself or in collaboration with other school districts a science resources center to
refurbish the materials in instructional kits.
In addition, the American Physical
Societys Teacher-Scientist Alliance Institute provides HP scientists
with an opportunity to gain in-depth understanding of science curriculum reform issues and
the roles scientists and industry partners can play in supporting local reform. HP
education philanthropy officials say that one of the most important contributions that HP
makes to its partner districts is providing opportunities to attend regional meetings and
workshop that allow the districts to come together to learn, network, and share best
practices. For example, over 100 teachers and administrators attend HP-sponsored events in
the Bay Area each year. Presentations have included sessions on assessment, how children
learn, and the nature of hands-on science.
To date, 29 teams representing 45 school districts in eight states have received HP
Hands-on Science Grants:
- 14 in California, in Cupertino, Los Altos, Menlo Park and Redwood City, Mountain View
and Whisman, Newark, Oceanside (San Diego), Palo
Alto Unified, Ravenswood (East Palo Alto, East Menlo Park), Rincon, Bennett, and
Kenwood (Santa Rosa), Rohnert Park and Cotati (Santa Rosa), the Roseville Consortium,
Santa Clara, Santa Rosa School District, and Sunnyvale
- 2 in Oregon, in Corvallis and in the combined school districts of McMinnville, Amity,
- 2 in Washington, in Battleground (near Vancouver) and the North Clark County Consortium
(outside of Vancouver)
- 1 in Idaho, in Meridian (the Boise area)
- 6 in Colorado, in Academy SD#20 (Colorado Springs), Cheyenne Mountain and Lewis Palmer,
Colorado Springs SD#11, Fort Collins Poudre R1, Harrison SD#2 (Colorado Springs), and
- 1 in Massachusetts, in Lawrence (near Andover)
- 1 in Georgia, in Atlanta
- 1 in Texas, in Arlington (the Dallas/Las Collinas area)
NSF Grants Won. Beginning in 1997, eight of the California school
districts that have worked with HP will receive a total of $5.6 million in NSF grants to
continue improvements in their K-6 science programs. The eight school districts are
Cupertino Union, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto Unified, Redwood City,
Santa Clara Unified, and Whisman. All are part of HPs Bay
Area Schools for Excellence in Education (BASEE). In addition, five school districts
near Vancouver, WA received grants totaling $2.7 million to help them continue to build a
regional Hands-On Science professional development program for teachers. Keep an eye on
HP's K-12 Program
& Activities Page for more updates.
Prize-Winner. HPs K-6 Hands-on Science Initiative in the Redwood
City and Menlo Park School Districts won J. Russell Kent Program Awards in 1996. Named for
a former superintendent of schools in the area, the awards are designed to publicize
outstanding teachers and programs in the county. HP and the school districts were
recognized for working together to equip all our elementary students, regardless
of...family background, with the skills and experiences needed to enter high school
prepared to enthusiastically excel in science.
Specific features of the Redwood City/Menlo Park program accomplished to date include
identification, selection, and implementation of hands-on, inquiry oriented materials,
development of a materials replenishment system, staff development, parent education, and
volunteer Science Partners programs.
On-Line Teacher Resource and a Sample Curriculum. Palo Alto Unified
School District has created an on-line guide for its teachers designed to help K-6
teachers facilitate exciting and effective science learning experiences for
students. The address for the site is http://www.pausd.palo-alto.ca.us/k6science/.
The districts science curriculum kit matrix can be found on line. The titles of the
units are as follows:
Grade K: Life Lab; Wood
Grade 1: Organisms; Pebbles, Sand, and Silt; Balls and Ramps
Grade 2: Insects; Air and Weather; Liquids
Grade 3: Baylands; Earth Materials; Sound
Grade 4: Animals Studies; Water; Electricity
Grade 5: Human Body; Solar Energy; Levers and Pulleys
Grade 6: Experiments with Plants; Landforms; Mixtures
Many of the hands-on science units in use in HP grants schools were developed as part
of the Full Option Science System
(FOSS) or the Science and Technology for Children (STC)
HP Science Materials Center Innovations. HP has come to believe that
the most effective way to keep a hands-on, inquiry-oriented science education program
alive is by supporting teachers through a centralized materials handling system for
printed materials and course software as well as for living and non-living specimens and
other needed equipment. HP money has helped initiate materials centers in some districts.
Some districts have instituted their own innovations.
In Santa Rosa, for example, nearby high-school students are helping
the district maintain the kits used to teach hands-on science.
Past experience with kits had taught Santa Rosa that after the consumable parts
are used, kits often just sit and gather dust, says Ridgway High School business
teacher Charlotte Imboden. It was decided that the district would maintain the kits, but
it was clear that district employees wouldnt be able to do all the work involved,
such as ordering materials, organizing them in supply bins, re-stocking science kits, and
scheduling and arranging to transport kits to and from schools. The district wondered
whether the high-school students could help out.
Today, Ridgway High students not only maintain supplies, but they learn the science
activities and present them to one another so that they can become familiar with the
materials and how they are used. The students are also working with a computer teacher to
computerize the inventory.
In the San Francisco Bay area, HP retirees have created a nonprofit
corporation called Coalition for Excellence in Science Education (CESE). The retirees are
devoted to refurbishment of kits for 10 school districts in the area where HP has provided
grants to train teachers to use the kits. The volunteers comb suppliers across the state
and sometimes across the nation to find just the right replacements.
Some items are hard to get says Pat Castro, HP retiree and CESE board
member. One kit has to have 40 pieces of 99% aluminum wire, and I found that there
are only three suppliers in the country.
Then there was the time a teacher asked Castro to load new kits with 25 gumdrops per
student for an experiment. For five classes of 30 students each. Castro wiped out six
Safeway stores supplies of gumdrops to meet the 3,750 gumdrop quota only to find out
later that the need was for 25 gumdrops per class, not per student.
There are still gumdrops on our shelves at the center, says Castro.
In Roseville, the Dry Creek/Roseville School District partnership with
HP has resulted in a sharing of books along with hands-on science materials. The Roseville
center ships book tubs with each kit so that students and teachers can
integrate reading and science topics. For a list of the books, contact Kathy Vortmann at
HP Maintains School District Relationships. Although Redwood
City/Menlo Park was one of the first grant recipients in 1992 and the grant ended in 1995,
HP has maintained a relationship with the school district by supporting the main HP
scientist contact there, Jim Vanides, in delivering professional development workshops for
teachers. This activity is also supported by an Eisenhower grant.
Redwood City/Menlo Park has also hosted three or four visits to their materials center
from school districts as far away as Ft. Collins, CO, and Boise.