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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Students, parents and teachers estimate the number of items in jars at Barbe Elementary on Tuesday. (Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)<br>

Students, parents and teachers estimate the number of items in jars at Barbe Elementary on Tuesday. (Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)

(Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)<br>

(Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)

Barbe Elementary students take on Common Core

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:17 AM

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

More than 100 schoolchildren and their parents assembled at Barbe Elementary School on Tuesday night for a hands-on look at math and science in action.

The school’s annual Tackling Common Core Through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) brought teachers and community members together to give parents an inside look at how their children are learning in the classroom.

Adopted in 45 of the 50 states, including Louisiana, Common Core State Standards teach reading, writing and math skills in a more rigorous and in-depth manner.

“Common Core takes what the children learn and instead of teaching them a broad scope of things it narrows down the scope, making the curriculum more rigorous and teaching it in a deeper manner,” said Mark LeBeau, an art teacher at Barbe Elementary School.

“If kids can touch it, feel it and do it, they learn. And that’s a scientific, proven fact. If they do it with their hands they’ll remember it way more than if they just read about it.

LeBeau’s Common Core activity taught students about the scientific method with nothing more than an ashtray, a small piece of Styrofoam and a capful of acetone. After he explained that acetone is used as nail polish remover, he asked students to think about what would happen if he poured it over the Styrofoam. Think of a hypothesis, he said to them, an educated guess.

LeBeau then poured a capful of acetone over the Styrofoam and students watched it dissolve in the ashtray.

“If you’re hypothesis was that it would melt, you were right,” he said.

LeBeau’s experiment was one of eight activities held. In the school’s multipurpose room, two fifth-grade girls played a game in which they were shown a card with the name of a geometric shape. The first one to find the card with the corresponding shape displayed on it scored a point. But they weren’t asked to find squares or circles. These girls were asked to pick out shapes such as a rhombus, a parallelogram, a pentagon and a triangular prism.

In the cafeteria, students learned about the states of matter by making ice cream. Each student poured a mixture of milk, vanilla and sugar into a Ziploc bag, sealed it, and placed the bag into another Ziploc bag filled with ice water. After each student shook the bag for about five minutes, vanilla ice cream was made inside.

“This experiment takes the states of matter out of the textbook and makes it hands-on where kids can see it happening,” said Amanda Rogers, a third-grade teacher at Barbe Elementary School. So it brings it to the deeper level of understanding. And they love it. Cold hands, yummy ice cream. They leave happy.”

But Common Core activities were not just about games and experiments. Steven Joubert, state Department of Health and Hospitals regional engineer for Region 5, explained to students that his job is to ensure that the drinking water in their homes is safe to drink.

“A lot of people don’t have safe drinking water,” he said.

Joubert said he participated in this year’s Common Core activities because he wanted to inspire children who like math and science to consider engineering as a career.

“Most of the kids ask me how much money I make and how long I had to go to school,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s a pretty important job, I guess; it pays the bills.”

Barbe Elementary Principal Sharon Ruffin-Hardy said one of the evening’s biggest goals was to give parents information on Common Core’s various regulations and an understanding of the rigors of its curriculum.

“Common Core is not going away; it’s here and it’s in everything that we do,” she said. “But we want to focus in on the math because math is a strong strand as far as one of the disciplines that we need to do.”

Posted By: Terra Orgeron On: 10/23/2013

Title: Not Common Core!

This type of teaching has nothing to do with Common Core and everything to do with being a good teacher and educating our children. Teachers should already be doing these things.. Common Core did not suddenly allow them to do this.

Posted By: Barry Badon On: 10/23/2013

Title: Common Core

So we didn't do science experiments before the common core?

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