Woolwich Welcomes Go2Science Stars Beth and Curtis
This week, Woolwich Central enjoyed a much-anticipated visit with Go2Science a fun, entertaining, and developmentally tailored program the school implemented several years ago. Hosted by the kindergarten class and funded by the PTA, the Go2Science visit featured Founders Beth Heidemann and Curtis Bentley. It included students from other grades as well. “The kids absolutely love it,” says Kindergarten Teacher Sarah Sample, “Go2Science has created a deep connection between the students and the larger world.”
The program provides teachers with a set of 12 lessons to be delivered at a rate of two per week over six weeks. Each lesson or “mission” includes a packet of background information, exploration videos, and student activities. Teachers decide how many and which of the lessons to use for their classes. “They have been carefully tied to the Common Core State standards and Next Generation Science Standards for us,” says Sample, which makes them easy to use.”
In class, the teachers show the week’s videos, each of which has Beth and Curtis travelling to a remote location, sharing adventures, and exploring scientific topics. In related livestream presentations, the students are allowed to ask questions of the presenters and get instant answers on screen. There are elements of reading and writing as well as science and, also a distinct element of fun.
The Go2Science team, however, are more than entertaining. Heidemann is a Presidential Award-winning teacher. Bentley is a real-life scientist and explorer. The two are backed by a team of advisors and creative professionals.
Says Sample, “We’ve got kindergarteners talking about hypotheses, evidence, inquiries, and they use those scientific terms in their play and other areas of school as if it were normal.”
Sample first learned about the Go2Science program five years ago when she was at the ACTEM (Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine) conference, being trained in new technologies. She says she saw a presentation by Heidemann that appealed to her. She shared it with fellow kindergarten teacher, Kim Plummer, who also found it worthwhile. They decided to try it out for the last half of the school year, and then renewed their subscription each year after that.
“Beth (Heidemann) is so over-the-top passionate about teaching young kids in a way that expands them that she makes you want to just jump on it and do it,” says Sample. Heidemann also gave Sample information about contacting the Perloff Foundation, who fund the Go2Science organization. “They gave us a 3D printer for printing artifacts for each mission. When we went to Australia for example, we printed a kangaroo skull,” Sample says.
It's no wonder given the great love of the program by children and teachers that the actual visit took on rock-star excitement.
“This is a guiding light in the darkness of education,” says Sample. “It enhances everything else we do. It’s got the kids speaking and asking questions and really engaging in science education.”
To learn more about Go2Science and see sample video, visit their website.