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Posted March 13, 2014

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Taft Students Use Technology to Explore Science

Their science teacher, Gary Bodman, is this month's TIG/APS Education Foundation Innovation Award winner.

Taft science teacher Gary Bodman figures middle schoolers who are comfortable playing Angry Birds and posting pictures and videos to social media sites might as well use tablets and computers to learn science, too.

"Real science can be done with the same tools that are used for social media or to pass the time," said this month's TIG/APS Education Foundation Innovation Award winner.

Bodman, who teaches sixth and eighth grade science at Taft Middle School, uses the Promethean board in his classroom to engage students, "providing opportunities beyond textbooks and classrooms."

For example, Bodman and his students recently used the electronic white board to study sand from around the world. "Students were looking at sand through stereoscopes and writing their observations in their science notebooks. Afterwards we took a stereoscope and hooked it up to the document camera and projected it on the Promethean board. We then made group observations as I led them with guiding questions as to the nature and age of the sediments. Sharing our observations greatly increased the awareness of the group of what important features where and what inferences we could make from them.”

Technology Integration Group and the APS Education Foundation announce Innovation Award winners each month during the school year, providing a $2,500 prize to a district teacher who is advancing education in the classroom through the use of technology, including Promethean ActivBoards. A $100 cash award also is provided.

Bodman wants to use the $2,500 technology award to move his classroom into a more student-centered environment. He will do this by purchasing video cameras and software to build a “flipped classroom” where lectures are recorded and posted online and can be accessed by students at anytime. With his $100 cash award, Bodman purchased a Tesla coil which will be used to teach about energy, electricity and resonance.

Bodman, who has been at Taft for six years, sponsors the after-school MESA club as well as Techgyrls, a YWCA program. He teaches a robotics class that won the at the VEX regional competition in February.

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