November 27, 2004

Grants Buy Teaching Tools for Science Classes

Pamela Forston knows that earth science isn't as exciting for her pupils as chemistry, with its chemical reactions, or biology, with its frog dissections.

"It can be dry," she said.

With a science teaching-tools grant from the Augusta-Fort Gordon Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, the eighth-grade Glenn Hills Middle School teacher will be able to add a little spice to the curriculum.

On Nov. 18 at the National Science Center's Fort Discovery, the association presented 31 grants totaling $17,000 to teachers.

Ms. Forston plans to buy software to enhance her teaching efforts. One program is a virtual lab that allows children to see experiments, and the other appeals to lovers of hand-held games, she said. The system, called IQuest, is made by LeapFrog.

Users can go to the company's Web site and download information specific to their science textbook.

Ms. Forston's $500 grant was one of two awarded to teachers at Glenn Hills Middle. Hal Slone and Tawanda Beard received $1,000.

Mr. Slone said the grant money would be used to purchase video equipment.

"We will tape class activities and play them when we do the morning show," he said.

Right now, the show consists of announcements and a PowerPoint slide presentation.

Mr. Slone teaches career education, and Ms. Beard is in charge of the school newspaper.

Money for the science teaching-tools grant programs comes from proceeds generated through the trade show at the Signal Symposium held at Fort Gordon each year.

About 200 technology vendors will be represented at the trade show being held at the base Monday-Dec. 3.

Bryan Tuschen, who coordinates the trade show, said the event is the third largest in Augusta behind the Masters Tournament and the Augusta Futurity.

It has a direct economic impact on Augusta of $3.67 million.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at [email protected]