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Texas Teachers Conducting Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory through the Teacher Research Academy

April 3, 2012

    Kimberlyn Grantham, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Dublin High School and Columbia High School Physics teacher Van Willey have joined an elite group of educators chosen to attend the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Teacher Research Academy in Livermore, California, June June 18th - July 13th. The Teacher Research Academy (TRA) offers middle school, high school and community college faculty unique professional development experiences at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). TRA teachers participate in a continuum of standards-based instruction, enabling them to progress from novice to mastery in exciting scientific disciplines while they experience the application of real world science in an environment teachers seldom experience.

    The instructors in the TRA are master science teachers from high school and universities who have extensive expertise in the science content areas they teach. One of the primary goals of the program is to show teachers how to teach through practical application, with the ultimate goal of helping young students learn through their own science research projects. Participants are given opportunities that most science teachers never experience. As a part of the program, teachers

    • Meet scientists.
    • Visit research laboratories.
    • Observe science being performed in the laboratory.
    • Learn technical writing skills to better communicate scientific information.
    • Experience the nature of science through direct involvement.
    • Use science equipment, processes, practices found in research laboratories.
    • Apply science to solve real problems.

    Ms. Grantham and Mr. Willey will attend the Fusion/Astrophysics segment of the program, where teachers work with fusion research, astrophysics, and atomic physics. Advanced programs are offered in astrophysical studies with a focus on classical gravitational physics and General Relativity. As members of research teams, teachers are able to learn the nature of science, research strategies and methods, and technical writing to communicate research findings. At the completion of the summer research experience each teacher is expected to create and present a research poster at the LLNL Summer Research Symposium. They are required to create a lesson plan that will extend their research experience into the classroom.

    "I plan to use the experience at TRA to enable me to speak to my students from experience, not just a research point of view on nuclear physics," said Mr. Willey. "I hope to use the experience to energize me so I can fuel the passion of my students. Maybe I can then increase their desire to consider entering into the nuclear workforce as engineers and technicians."

    "I cannot express how appreciative I am to NPI for giving me opportunities. Being a lifelong learner is important and NPI has helped me reach this goal and empower students with the knowledge I have gained," remarked Ms. Grantham.


    More information about TRA.