In Bonnie Hallam's class at Huey Elementary School in Philadelphia, first-graders don't just read about ecology-they make an ecosystem. Every year, a corner of Hallam's classroom becomes a pond. Filling a huge wooden barrel with water, students carefully arrange topsoil, mulch, logs-even goldfish and butterflies. "The kids get so involved," Hallam says. "Everyone has a good time."

It's a different scene from a few years ago, when science was scarce in Hallam's class. "I've always liked science," she says, "but I felt I didn't know enough to teach it." Then, in 1994, Hallam attended a summer institute for teachers sponsored by the Penn-Merck Collaborative for the Enhancement of Science Education, a cooperative effort of the University of Pennsylvania and Merck and Co. Inc. in Whitehouse Station, N.J. The 13-month program includes two intensive summer sessions, during which participants create lab lessons to teach during the school year. Hallam learned how...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?