Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Community Programs Office supports regional education

New programs strengthen teachers’ math and science teaching skills
September 1, 2013
Teachers from the region attended a half-day workshop to improve their science-teaching skills

Teachers from the region attended a half-day workshop to improve their science-teaching skills


  • Community Programs Office Director
  • Kurt Steinhaus
  • Email

Resource kit and half-day workshop

Approximately 45 regional kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers spent a half-day at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola last month where they were given a resource kit to support their work with students in grades kindergarten through five. Among the information included is background on the Lab, what it does and what resources it has available to assist both students and teachers.

During the workshop itself, participates had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the content of the kits and begin to discuss how to use the materials in the classroom. They also had time for hands-on experiments and even had time for some hands-on practice in chemistry and math that support Common Core State Standards adoption.

At the end of session, teachers were pleased with the event and comments included: Thanks you for the resources. They will be put to use in my classroom. Thanks for the whole workshop” and “Provided information in Math/Science/LANL Resource Kit will be beneficial to my teaching information about LANL connections and resources.”

An additional 40 resource guides have been distributed to teachers within the region.

New math programs benefits students at Ohkay Owingeh

Instructors with the Lab’s Math & Science Academy also spent time in June with the teachers and staff of the 80-student Ohkay Owingeh Community School to help them prepare for a new way of teaching math to its elementary grades this year.

The two new curricula—both based on National Science Foundation-supported research—require a break from traditional math teaching models to stress conceptual understanding of the underlying principles behind the mathematical equations. In fact, the changes were enough of a departure from past practices that the Lab/Ohkay Owingeh team used time during the school’s mandatory parent orientation to inform the parents and guardians on the new approach. It is hoped these efforts will translate into additional support of the students’ math goals during out-of-school hours.

MSA will be continuing to work with the Ohkay Owingeh Community School for three years as part of its ongoing professional development program to improve math student learning and achievement at the four Pueblo schools in Northern New Mexico.

The curricula

Investigations in Number, Data, and Space” is designed to provide professional development for teachers as well as explore algebraic ideas for a range of learners within the classroom for children in grades kindergarten through five.

The “Connected Mathematics Project” includes field-tested lessons in numbers, geometry, measurement, algebra, probability and statistics for grades six through eight to ensure that students have a solid mathematical foundation by the time they reach high school.

For more information on the Math & Science Academy and what it does, contact the Community Programs Office at (505) 665-4400.