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Workshop Helps Teachers Bridge Science, Native American Cultures

Wednesday, August 12, 1998

FORT COLLINS--Twenty-one science teachers from reservation schools in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington recently attended a weeklong workshop on "American Indians Bridging Cultures with Small-Scale Science" at Colorado State University.

The July 12-17 workshop was designed to provide a hands-on and culturally informed professional development opportunity for sixth- through 12th-grade Native American science teachers and teachers whose students are primarily Native American.

The teachers, 13 of whom are Native Americans, worked with Stephen Thompson, Colorado State professor of chemistry and associate director of the Colorado State Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education; and Frank Finley, chemistry instructor at Salish Kootenai Tribal College in Pablo, Mont., and a member of the Salish Kootenai Confederated Tribes.

As developed by Thompson, small-scale science encourages students to learn cooperatively and to take a holistic, "big picture" approach to science. Classroom and lab procedures use special workstations and equipment and emphasize economy, conservation and pollution prevention.

"Small-scale science offers a means to explore two world views of teaching, learning and doing science," said M.B. McAfee, program coordinator. Experiments are designed to minimize waste and encourage environmentally responsible approaches to science, she said. These attributes are strongly aligned with traditional Native American values of interconnectedness, community and conservation, McAfee said.

The workshop was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Hewlett- Packard of Fort Collins.

Participating teachers included:

INSTRUCTOR SCHOOL CITY Arizona Martha Tate Kaibeto Boarding School Kaibeto William LongReed Tuba City High School Tuba City Mavis Shingoitewa Tuba City Junior High School Tuba City

Colorado Paul Bouffard Sunrise Youth Shelter Towaoc

New Mexico George Lytle Tohajiilee Community School Canoncito Regina RomeroTohajiilee Community School

Canoncito Barin Beard Borrego Pass School Crownpoint Truman Etsitty Crownpoint Community School Crownpoint Bob Hemenger Dulce Independent School Dulce Faye Viarrial Espanola Public School # 45 Espanola Sharon Becenti Nenahnezad Community School Fruitland Evalina Cummings Nenahnezad Community School

Fruitland Melvin Chico Wingate High School

Ft. Wingate Michelle Eustice Wingate High School

Ft. Wingate Rex Morris Ramah High School

Ramah Leona Talachy New Mexico State Department of Education

Santa Fe Lino (Ricky) Espinoza Shiprock High School

Shiprock William Barber Chichiltah-Jones Ranch Community School

Vanderwagen Maxine Joe Chichiltah-Jones Ranch Community School

Vanderwagen Utah Teresa James Navajo Mountain High School

Washington Tana Lang Heritage College Toppenish

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