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Article published November 7, 2012
Mars ‘flips’ for classroom demonstration
ADAMS TWP — Mars High School will offer a “Flipped Classroom” demonstration from 6:30 to 8 p.m. today in the library. Guest speaker will be Aaron Sams, a chemistry teacher at Woodland Park High School in Colorado and “Flipped Classroom” practitioner and consultant. Sams, who received the 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, also served as co-chairman of the Colorado State Science Standards Revision. At Mars High School, students are required to take either physics or conceptual physics and “we found that our traditional teaching practices were not as effective with our current students,” said Janet Adams, Mars High School physics teacher, who along with fellow teacher Nicole Avon researched alternative teaching methods. “The hallmark of the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is that the students are at the center of the learning process,” Adams said. The “Flipped Classroom” model inverts traditional teaching methods, delivering instruction online outside of class and moving homework into the classroom. At Mars High School, instructional videos are posted to each teacher’s class page on the district’s website (www.marsk12.org) and students are asked to watch the video and take notes at home at their own pace. As part of their notes, students must list main ideas and key words; draw diagrams and write formulas; and provide a one-sentence summary and a question regarding the material. In class, the students receive hands-on experience in applications, problem-solving and lab procedures and assessments. By completing labs and other activities in class, the students have the benefit of a teacher’s guidance and students can learn and share knowledge with their peers. “What (the students) gain is a much deeper understanding of the concepts and greater autonomy of thought,” says Adams. “Physics is a body of knowledge that one cannot just memorize, they must understand.” All parents are invited to attend the “Flipped Classroom” demonstration. For more information, contact Todd Kolson, principal, at 724-625-1581.