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LSU GeauxTeach Math and Science teacher candidates collaborate

with the Louisiana Art and Science Museum for project-based learning course


04/11/14 01:00 PM
BATON ROUGE - LSU GeauxTeach Math and Science teacher candidates enrolled in EDCI 4500: Instructional Models for Mathematics and Science, led by School of Education Assistant Professor Dr. Angela Webb, participate in a unique project-based learning experience that combines field teaching in local middle and high schools with integrating a community educational resource.


This semester teacher candidates first visited the Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM) in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, February 22, 2014. During this time, they toured the Ancient Egypt Gallery, which focuses on the Ptolemaic period from 323 BC to 30 BC when Egypt flourished under Greek rule. The gallery displays ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts as well as a mummy that dates back to the Ptolemaic period. Visiting LASM and the Ancient Egypt Gallery allowed teacher candidates to familiarize themselves with the themes and ancient artifacts on view. Following their visit, the teacher candidates brainstormed creative ways to teach math and science integrating the exhibition.


While this is the third year for Dr. Webb’s Instructional Models class to work with LASM and authentic objects in museum exhibitions, this semester is unique. Working with LSU’s Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership (CCELL) and focusing on a permanent exhibition at LASM enables a service-learning partnership between LASM and teacher candidates enrolled in Instructional Models.


Tammy Frazier, art education curator at LASM, explains that the service-learning partnership “provides a unique opportunity for the GeauxTeach students to learn how they can (a) work directly with educational resources within their community and (b) identify ways to teach from authentic objects in order to create meaningful and relevant classroom lessons for their middle and high school students.” Both Dr. Webb and Ms. Frazier agree that these are important goals.


“Through working with CCELL, we are on our way to forging a rigorous and productive service-learning project. Instructional Models has always offered a unique field teaching experience to our GeauxTeach teacher candidates, but this service-learning project ups the ante. Tangible products and public performances are a huge part of project-based learning. With LASM as our community partner, candidates’ products and performances extend beyond just our LSU class, providing unique experiences for them to draw from when they become math and science teachers,” said Dr. Webb.


On Saturday, March 29, 2014, ten seventh and ninth grade students from Iberville Math, Science, and Arts Academy East, four GeauxTeach teacher candidates, Dr. Webb, Ms. Frazier, and GeauxTeach Master Teacher, Robyn Carlin, embarked on a three-hour museum visit at LASM.


The middle and high school students arrived promptly at 10 a.m., eager to begin their exploration of the Ancient Egypt Gallery. A LASM tour guide led a brief tour through the gallery, explaining the history and customs of Ancient Egypt along with the mummy’s forensic findings. Students were intrigued when viewing the 2,300-year-old mummy.


The middle and high school students then broke up into two separate groups: math and science.


The ninth grade algebra students were led by teacher candidates Emelie Mativi and Taylor North.


Prior to the museum visit, teacher candidates gave algebra students dimensions of the mummy’s face. Students then drew the mummy’s face on graph paper using scale factors. Their task during the museum visit was to observe the mummy’s actual face, a forensic drawing from the LSU FACES lab, and a bust created by Jonathan Elias of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, and then draw a larger, scaled-up depiction of the mummy’s face. After closely examining the mummy’s facial characteristics, the forensic drawing, and the bust on view, teacher candidates and students discussed the background behind these examples. The forensic reconstruction depicts a modern version of what the man could look like today; the bust was created using research data specific to ancient Egypt. Students observed the differences between the two for their own analysis.


Heading back into the classroom, algebra students looked at their graph paper for the scale originally used, and then applied a new scale factor to enlarge the drawing onto poster paper.


For example, one student’s original drawing had a scale factor of two centimeters; he enlarged and converted the drawing to have a scale in inches. All drew a larger face, incorporating their own nose size, then presented imaginative stories about the mummy’s life and death.


While the ninth grade algebra students made mental connections realizing the opportunities of combining art and math, the seventh grade life science students explored how to combine art and science.


Science teacher candidates Alaysha Hatney and Kalli Trahan integrated technology into their lesson plan by presenting a brief video about the Nile River to the life science students. Life science students then discussed various ways the Nile River contributed to the life of ancient Egyptians. In addition to discussing food and transportation, among other things, students also brainstormed how ancient Egyptians made paints and what the pigments symbolized. Extending a lesson on ecosystems prior to the museum visit, students were given a piece of papyrus paper to paint five biotic (living) and five abiotic (nonliving) factors that related to life along the Nile River. They also painted a word in hieroglyphics to summarize what they learned about the Nile River, such as fertile or resourceful. At the end of the museum visit, each presented their paintings, explaining why they chose certain colors and explaining which symbols were biotic or abiotic.


“This experience really opened my eyes to the amount of ways instructors can connect material to real-world artifacts,” said Mativi. “I gained insight to the process of planning an artifact-based lesson. The students enjoyed making connections between what we covered in class and the Ancient Egypt Gallery. I am excited to put the new teaching techniques I learned into practice in my own classroom someday.”


Following the teacher candidates’ informative and engaging project-based math and science lessons, Dr. Webb, Mrs. Carlin, and Ms. Frazier are excited about the future possibilities of this service-learning partnership. With continued support from LSU’s CCELL, they look forward to reflecting on this semester’s experience and further developing the service-learning partnership to best meet LASM’s needs as a community partner while providing unique and robust learning experiences for GeauxTeach teacher candidates.





About SOE
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

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About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues we face as a state and nation. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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About LASM

The Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) is a private, non-profit museum devoted to enriching the quality of life in Greater Baton Rouge through the operation of a museum and planetarium. Established in 1962, LASM is a regional cultural destination and anchoring museum in the greater Baton Rouge area.  LASM’s mission is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of art and science for general audiences and students by presenting unique, educational and entertaining experiences that encourage discovery, inspire creativity, and foster the pursuit of knowledge. LASM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

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