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11/17/10 - MSU program showcases science at MSTA conference

Betty Latimer

Members of Mississippi State's ATOMS2xp team traveled to Jackson recently to showcase science classroom innovation for more than 450 instructors and administrators at the Mississippi Science Teachers Association's annual conference.

The ATOMS2xp program, whose acronym stands for Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science, places student achievement at the center of learning by helping teachers hone their classroom skills, as well as by introducing them to new resources. It is housed in the university's Center for Education and Training Technology.

ATOMS project staff led several sessions during the October MSTA meeting, including director Betty Latimer. During her presentation, titled "Don't be ALIENated by the Inquiry Strand," participants learned about incorporating inquiry into other science content activities and lesson plans based on the 2010 Mississippi Science Framework. The framework is designed to expose students to experiences that reflect how science should be valued, to enhance students' confidence in their ability to apply scientific processes, and to help students learn to communicate and reason scientifically.

ATOMS science field coordinator Sonya Smith addressed misconceptions students and teachers have about physical science, graphs and predictions. Science field coordinator Re-C Carter used "NCIS--New Curriculum Investigation Services" to demonstrate hands-on activities to discover ways to enhance rigor in classroom strategies.

Additionally, several Mississippi State staff and faculty members shared presentations and exhibits with conference-goers:

--Extension instructor Mariah Smith led teachers in an engaging session, "Let's Do the Jitterbug!," during which they created a jitterbug to learn about electricity.

--Associate Extension professor John Guyton shared ideas for teaching about wildlife using insects.

--Biological Sciences professor Dwayne Wise provided information about Mississippi State's master of science degree program in general biology.

For additional information about ATOMS2xp, please visit The Mississippi Science Teachers Association is online at

JIM LAIRD | University Relations and the Office of Research and Economic Development

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