Bringing Math and Science Alive for Austin Teachers and Students

February 16, 2011
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

More than 800 fourth through eighth graders in six Austin schools and up to 40 teachers can continue their work to boost achievement in math and science thanks to renewal grants from the Educational Foundation of America and the KDK-Harman Foundation.

Through SEDL’s Connecting Kids to Math and Science, area teachers are participating in a 2-year pilot program designed to get students excited about math and science and expose them to the numerous career options available in these fields. The program offers intense professional development, follow-up support, and technology resources to help teachers hone their instructional skills while improving kids’ ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills.

Learning sessions such as “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” bring math and science to life by demonstrating the concept of change—rapid change, as in natural disasters, and slow change, as in erosion, mountain building, or tectonic plate movement. “Teaching Concepts With Digital Imagery” challenges teachers to create video presentations to teach a specific math and/or science concept and to develop lesson plans in which their students would do the same. Facilitator guides are created for each session and will reside on the SEDL Web site for anyone to access.

Technology plays a central role in Connecting Kids, and through the foundations’ support each teacher receives several field kits to share with their students for field-based learning. The kits include laptops, digital cameras, calculators, probes, field guides, and digital microscopes, which the schools will keep after the program ends. Through a protected online social networking Web site, teachers and kids alike can share their work. “We are thankful for this support that allows us to demonstrate how good instructional strategies and engaging hands-on activities can benefit children from a variety of backgrounds as they actively participate and master key math and science concepts. Ultimately, we hope these students pursue careers in math and science,” said SEDL President and CEO Wes Hoover.

KDK-Harman Foundation’s Executive Director, Jennifer Esterline said, “We are delighted to once again support Connecting Kids to Math and Science, as it directly relates to our number one strategic initiative of integrating technology into teaching and learning. As the materials are developed and placed on SEDL’s Web site, they can be used by anyone with an Internet connection free of charge, and that’s an added bonus.”

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit