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 Magnets and Mystery Tubes at Elementary Science Academy

Teachers from throughout the county learned about magnets, mystery tubes, and the new science standards recently at the San Diego County Office of Education's Elementary Science Academy.

Nearly 80 educators started the academy with four days this summer. They will follow up throughout the school year with five additional learning days.

"The overall goal of the academy is to prepare teachers for the Next Generation Science Standards," said John Spiegel, science coordinator for SDCOE. "The way that we're doing that is by building a foundation of what good science looks like."

That includes a lot of hands-on lessons as well as a study of best practices, and the development of a digital portfolio.

"It's a great collaborative experience, and it's a lot more engaging for us," said James Masters, a teacher from the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. "It makes science fun."

This is the second year for the nine-day academy, which was created for educators who teach kindergarten through 5th grade to support them in teaching literacy through science content.

Maria Flaherty, a teacher on special assignment for Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, said she will take what she learned at the academy back to share with other educators at her school. It was valuable to experience the new standards as a learner as well as a teacher, she said.

"It's good to have that lens as a learner," she said. "It reminds you that it's scary to take a risk and not know the answer."