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4/16/13 - Popular ATOMS2XP program sees success

A specialized Mississippi State teacher training program marked the end of its nine-year run with a concluding campus workshop.

The university's Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science program--also known as ATOMS2XP--was among the longest lasting Mathematics and Science Partnership projects in the state. It was created to help increase the number of highly qualified fourth-eighth grade science teachers and, in turn, the academic achievement levels of their students.

Participants in the free program had direct access to distinguished senior MSU faculty members in biological sciences, geosciences and physics, as well as resources of the campus-based Center for Education and Training Technology.

Each participant also received a $1,000 stipend for successful completion of the project, along with a science resource kit and a laptop computer for instructional use during the program.

Made possible by a federal MSP grant provided through the Mississippi Department of Education, ATOMS2XP accomplished its goals through a series of workshops, online discussion groups, content knowledge tests, and related activities.

"The ATOMS2XP program has been very successful," said Sonya Smith, its science field coordinator. "We have given teacher and student assessments that show how our program has increased student content knowledge."

She said much of the training focused on finding fun, hands-on ways to bring science and math to students. To help emphasize that point, she said participating teachers played a live version of the popular Angry Birds video game during the last workshop Wednesday [April 10].

"Educators can teach projectile motion, measuring angles, averages and graphing with the game, enhancing students' math and science skills," Smith explained.

Each of the nearly 50 teachers participating annually earned 10 continuing education units, along with a new highly qualified status in science education at their respective schools. In turn, they took what they learned and passed it on to others in their districts through professional development training sessions, Smith said.

"It's very important for us as teachers to continue our education, so that we can benefit our children," said Tammy Krutzfeldt, one of those at the final workshop. The Poplarville Upper Elementary School teacher praised the program, saying it "has given me many resources and a network of teachers that are valuable to our education system."

While ATOMS2XP may have ended, fourth-eighth grade teachers looking to increase their math content knowledge now are being invited to join MSU's In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training. For more information about IMPACT2, contact Smith at 662-325-8140 or ssmith@atoms2xp.org.

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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