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Sulphur Springs gets science labs

Posted: April 26, 2010 10:39 p.m.
Updated: April 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Students conduct experiments in one of the Sulphur Springs School District's science labs. The district saw an increase from 30 percent in 2004 to 63 percent in 2009 in fifth-graders with proficient or advanced level scores on the state's Student Testing and Reporting test since science labs were added in the 2004-05 school year.

 

It started with a visit by board members to Sulphur Springs Community School's science lab where trustees were inspired to install labs at each of the district's elementary schools.

By the 2004-05 school year, science labs began in each of the Sulphur Springs School District's schools. The first step was finding a designated space and then outfitting each room with the appropriate technology and equipment. Many schools contracted with consultants who came in to the lab and demonstrated lessons with the students laying the foundation for the teachers to follow up with in future visits to the lab.

The basic plan for each science lab includes lab tables and stools, an interactive white board, computer and projection system, computers for students to record their data on, along with a refrigerator, dishwasher and the necessary science equipment to provide hands on learning for the students. Each school site personalized their science labs, with some adorning the walls with murals of key science curriculum painted by students and staff.

Science experiments in the classroom are often too difficult to provide. In the science labs everything is on hand, students are motivated and excited to explore and experiment, to develop their own hypothesis and see if their conclusions are correct or not, learning all the while from the experience.

The results of the science labs are evident by the state's STAR (Student Testing and Reporting) test, given to fifth-graders annually. The first year the results were published in 2004, 30 percent of Sulphur Springs School District's fifth-graders scored at the proficient or advanced level. By 2009, with science labs being in use for nearly five years, 63 percent of the fifth-graders scored at the advanced or proficient level.

This article was contributed by administrators for the Sulphur Springs School District.

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