VISTA Concludes Summer Programs Around the State

Posted: August 31, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: August 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm

The following information was provided by VISTA staff.

The Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) based in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) successfully conducted elementary science institutes (ESI) during June and July at Mason, Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary.

More than 50 teachers and 60 elementary students from Virginia attended the institutes, which included participants from schools in Culpeper, Fairfax, Frederick, Prince William, Newport News, Williamsburg-James City, Bedford, Hanover, Hopewell, Chesterfield and Portsmouth City.

During the institutes, teachers were provided intensive science education professional development focused on problem-based learning. Throughout the ESI, they collaborated with leading scientists, educational experts and staff at each university to build fundamental knowledge of inquiry and the nature of science as a part of the VISTA problem-based learning model.

Teachers from each site then used these experiences, knowledge and collaborative staff to develop and conduct a two-week student science camp at their specific site focused on investigating and measuring human impacts on the environment. The camp provided teachers the time to gain experience using the innovative problem-based science pedagogy they had learned with the students so they could implement these strategies in their own classrooms this upcoming school year.

At the Mason camp, teachers developed a problem-based learning experience in which students acted as secret environmental agents tasked with assessing Mason’s sustainability efforts according to the national Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.

All of the VISTA and CEHD staff, teachers and students would like to thank the Mason faculty and staff members listed below who helped make this institute a success. They look forward to working together as the program continues over the next five years.

  • Randy McBride and Dann Sklarew, College of Science
  • Archie Nesbitt, Jeff Counts and Jose Sola, Facilities Management
  • Lee Ann Houston and Chris Topping, Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Peter Schoebel, Mason Dining
  • Ben Ashworth, School of Art
  • Margaret Lo, Lenna Storm and Danielle Wyman, Office of Sustainability
  • Dan Waxman, Auxiliary Enterprises





Write to gazette at