Activity Report for the 2007-08 School Year
462 teachers and laboratory technicians studied this year at the Pamela and Stanley Chais Teachers Center.
The Center was established at Hemda five years ago through the mutual initiative of the Education department of the Tel Aviv – Jaffa Municipality, The Hemda president, director and the Tel Aviv Foundation.
The courses being taught, are aimed at junior and high school teachers and the focus is on science subjects within the school curriculum and beyond it. They are taught by Hemda teachers and Weizman Institute lecturers in highly sophisticated laboratories equipped with hands on infrastructure, display tools and advanced computers.
Within the framework of the teachers' center, Hemda offers courses in sciences taught according to the school curriculum and enrichment programs. The courses include scientific knowledge, didactic tools and integration of laboratory work and are recognized by the Ministry of Education for salary incentives. There are workshops on unique subjects for different groups of teachers, laboratory technicians, advisors and more. Workshops on special subjects are also developed by Hemda staff - competitions in sciences, science days related to extraordinary events like meteor rain or solar/lunar eclipses.
The courses at Hemda are accompanied by materials for teachers and booklets for the pupils. In addition, Hemda teachers initiated and today carry out unique projects such as "mathematic tools for physicists" – an extremely important subject for science and math teachers uniting math and physics tools. Two new community projects are taking place at Hemda. Both are related to Hemda's internet site designed for the benefit of physics pupils and their teachers in Israel: experimental cards project and Hemda displays are sent to the Hemda site on the internet. There is a treasure of activities accompanied by instructions to the teacher with references to additional internet sites. The project is called "Hemda Lab".
The second project includes filming the main physics experiments. This is not meant to replace the teacher but to present the main points to the pupil before an exam, a short explanation of the experiment and results evident from it.
The teachers' courses permit Hemda to disperse the knowledge accumulated over the years with the goal of encouraging science studies in Israel. All this is done thanks to the Chais Family's generous donation.
1. Teacher System Seminar for Junior and High School Science and Technology Teachers in Tel Aviv: In light of the previous years success of the Pamela and Stanley Chais Teachers' Center in which science teachers obtained new tools and materials for teaching, we began in the school year of 2007 – 08 a three year systematic plan to strengthen science studies in junior high schools in Tel Aviv – Jaffa.
Responsibility for the program: The Pamela and Stanley Chais Teachers' Center – Hemda, Tel Aviv – Jaffa Education Administration and the Ministry of Education.
The program's plan: seminars, instruction and assimilation over 4 years including 2007/8.
The staff accompanies, instruct and implements the data being taught in the schools framework.
Teachers and principles are obligated to participate and implement.
There were 3 teacher seminars to date:
1. Interaction and strengths – an obligatory section in the curriculum. It discusses fundamental concepts, examples were given and problems of various difficulty levels were analyzed together with lab experiments and displays.
The seminar included 28 meetings at Hemda.
2. A bi – monthly daily seminar took place at the schools aimed at the teaching staff and included at least two thirds of the school's science teachers and employed team work to produce materials. The seminar took place at 11 schools and 60 teachers participated.
3. Physics and advanced thinking skills –considered as a central subject for the school year by the Ministry of Education. The seminar took place at 11 schools and 60 teachers took part. At least two thirds of the school science staff had to participate in the seminar. The program integrates instruction for implementation in schools.
4. This seminar of 28 hours is planned for the science and technology subject coordinators so they can apply what was taught to the teaching staff in the schools. Thirteen coordinators and 133 teachers participated in the program.
A teacher's letter
To summarize the project's first year – I would like to thank its initiators and instructors. For over a long period of time, the teachers in the field have felt the devaluation and great discomfort while teaching junior high school sciences.
This is a result of the massive cut in teaching hours, lack of proper teaching materials, distance from the syllabus, working without a plan, too little emphasis on learning skills and more…
I am very happy that as a new coordinator of science subjects at Ironi Dalet High School and together with my teaching staff joined the seminar project at Hemda.
The seminars added a great deal to our training by fulfilling our needs in the fields in which we work and also in the areas of skills which we have to pass on and exercise with our pupils.
The seminars give (and hope will continue to give in the future) operative tools, and as such allow us to improve and strengthen our work as science teachers.
I see great importance in these seminars also in future years and I will make every effort so that all the science teachers in my school will take part in these seminars.
Continue in your important work.
Roni Peles – Science Coordinator
Ironi Dalet, Tel Aviv
2. High School Teacher Seminar at Hemda on the Subject of Assimilating a New Technological System for Pupil Experiments:.
Last year Hemda purchased the "Pasco" system for use by physics, chemistry and the advanced computational science course pupils.
The "Pasco" system is a computerized system of measurements and controls used in experiments carried out by pupils learning physics and chemistry. The system consists of a variety of sensors such as strength, distance, flow, magnetic field, acid measurement, pressure measurement and more. The system is connected to the computer making it possible to accumulate the measurements and see them, process the results and show them graphically leading to scientific conclusions. Through this system it is also possible to control parameters in continuing processes like temperature changes over time, air pressure or other gas changes and measurements of acid level. The system software also serves to prepare briefings for the pupils.
Hemda holds seminars for its teachers in how to intergrate the system into the pupils' work. The seminars are given by experts on the subject and include teachers and lab technicians teaching at Hemda. During the 56 hours of each seminar the teachers learned how to use the system and the secrets of the accompanying software. The experiment systems at Hemda were adapted pedagogically and didactically to the new system. A seminar like this is planned for teachers throughout the country who would like to participate in upgrading their experiment system.
Total number of teachers and lab technicians: 29
Total seminar hours: 56
3. Hemda Lab: Hemda Laboratories: The educational ideology accompanying Hemda is that teaching science must integrate experiments and displays at every stage. In this way the learned theoretical ideas are clearer, the connection between the taught material and the real world is easier and the pupil internalizes the strong existing connection between experiment and theory in the theoretical field.
The educational environment at Hemda was planned in a way that allows lab
activity as part of each lesson in daily teaching. Therefore, each Hemda class
is also a laboratory. Lab experiments at Hemda are not limited only to
experiments or to matriculation exams but also to every curriculum and with
unique enrichment found only at Hemda.
Hemda invests efforts to enter all display and experimental materials,
accompanied by a list of materials, tools needed for experiments,
accompanying instructions for the teacher and pupil. Hemda teachers and lab
technicians who develop experiments at Hemda put the display and
experiment cards on the Hemda site and gave a workshop to teachers at the
Physics teachers' convention (120 teachers) which took place last June at the
Weizman Institute. They invited the teachers to take part in this important
Total: 120 teachers at the workshop on Hemda Laboratories
4. Mathematics for Physicists: The connection between mathematics and physics for high level physics pupils is very problematic. The pupils learning mathematics do not connect the learned concepts in mathematics lessons to the fundamental concepts in physics. In order to rectify this situation, mathematical subjects have to be taught in physics lessons. Therefore, Hemda took upon itself with the help of the Chais Foundation Teachers Center to publish a collection of materials on the subject of mathematics for physicists – teachers and pupils.
This is the third year that the Hemda teaching staff is working on this material and publishes booklets for the benefit of Israeli pupils and is used by Hemda teachers. Hemda and other teachers are almost finished preparing the second part of this unique booklet. A seminar on this subject was given to 30 teachers from throughout the country who took part in the teachers' convention. Those who received the booklet from Hemda are supported throughout the year by Hemda teachers.
Total: Writing materials by Hemda staff and a workshop for 30 teachers to learn the materials.
5. Workshops for Teachers Preparing Pupils for Science Competitions
The workshop carried out in preparation for the science competitions was held this year for 110 junior high school science teachers from the peripheral areas of Tel Aviv. The teachers heard lectures and attended a workshop on the subject of integrating science competitions in science and technological studies as an integral part of the studies.
The competitions are meant to give the teachers motivational tools, integrate enjoyment with learning, teaching physics fundamentals through play, applying the material learned in class in an interesting and enjoyable way and also teaching physics skills which can be displayed with the help of these competitions.
Competitions demand knowledge from the teacher in the following subjects: planning the experiment, integrating physics principles with the learned material before the competition date, teaching skills of basic preparation for experiments. For example, the principles for building a submarine demands physics laws such as the law of floating and specific weights, the “walking on water” competition demands an understanding of Archimedes' law, the competition for launching missiles demands understanding the laws of projection, the “flight of the egg” competition demands an understanding of the laws of gravity and more.
A booklet in preparation for the competitions was prepared for the teachers at the seminars and included: physics laws, instructions in preparation for the competition – for the teacher (integrating the curriculum and the relevant material) and for the pupil (competition laws) and no less important, was the method of scoring which demands exact measurement by the teachers' staff (time measurement, relating to the form, accompanying posters for the competition). The seminar is given by Hemda teachers.
A total of 110 teachers attended the workshop to learn the material. A booklet is attached.
6. Enrichment Days and Workshops for Elementary School Teachers on subjects relating to environmental subsistence in cooperation with the Pisga Center of Tel Aviv – Jaffa were carried out here and taught by Hemda teachers. We believe that it is important to bring forth the message of science and to give the pupils from an especially young age principles, tools and skills to work with science and be exposed to it.
40 elementary school teachers participated.
162 teachers took part in regular seminars at Hemda and another 300 in
enrichment workshops thanks to the donation of the Stanley and Pamela
Chais Family Foundation. Enrichment materials were prepared for school
curriculums (mathematics and experiment booklets along with outlines of
Hemda experiments were placed on the internet) and also for enrichment
(briefs, competition measurements and estimates).