High Schoolers learn about science - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

High Schoolers learn about science

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Kaila Barrett of Albany loves the Exchange Club Fair.  In fact, she's already been here once.

"I actually went Wednesday," she said.

The 11th grader at Westover High School also loves physics. "It challenges you.  It's more than about memorization it's about applying concepts," she said.

But while Kaila does well in physics, she's part of a generation of American high schoolers who are behind their international peers.  In an effort to close the gap, educators have turned to different ways of teaching math and science.

According to Horace Bentley, the Science Supervisor for Dougherty County Public Schools the goal is to "take that content and put it in a real life setting so that they make the real world connection between what is learned in the classroom and what they see on an everyday basis."

And Friday, those new methods took about 125 Dougherty County High Schoolers to - the fair?  But there's a method behind this seeming madness.

While the students are having fun on the rides here at the fair, they're also learning important scientific concepts.

Take the bumper cars, while it looks like no more than a jumbled mess, there are lessons to be learned here.

"They're seeing as far as friction, the static electricity that is shared when they're colliding," said Bentley.

And the carousel?  There are math and physics principles at work here too. So what are these students doing?

"Using formulas to figure out revolutions, like how many times the ride goes around in a minute," said Barrett.

All of the activities today were about reinforcing what's already being taught in the classroom.  And it seems to be working, at least in one case.  While Kaila was considering a career in medicine before, now she says, "taking physics has opened me up to thinking about some different careers that involve science."

Meanwhile educators are hoping that some of her classmates will follow her lead and begin thinking about careers in science too.

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