UMass Medical School and Intel Provide Science to Go: $35,000 Intel grant supports math and science education through UMMS initiative

March 13, 2000

WORCESTER, Mass.- The Regional Science Resource Center of the University of Massachusetts Medical School has been awarded a grant by the Intel Foundation to help support science learning in Central Massachusetts classrooms. The $35,000 grant will fund Science To Go, a new program that will collaborate with Central Massachusetts school districts to provide the science materials needed for hands-on science kits in elementary schools. The program will establish a centralized refurbishment center to replenish materials used in classroom labs for kindergarten through sixth grade.

According to Sandra Mayrand, Director of the Resource Center, the cost/benefit of an efficient centralized operation shared by many districts will encourage the continued use of student-centered science discovery experiences. Some of the materials provided by Science To Go will include plastic beakers, straws, balloons, sand, and everyday household items-cornstarch, for example, or cotton balls-that can be used in age-appropriate scientific experiments, or insect larvae such as meal worms for observations.

"This science refurbishment center is the final component of the Resource Center's comprehensive plan to provide Central Massachusetts districts with the support they need to establish strong mathematics and science standards-based programs in their schools," said Mayrand. "Other states have found that without an organized materials management system in place these innovative, inquiry-based science programs can not be sustained over time."

John LeBlanc, the newly appointed coordinator of the Science To Go program, is a former inventory manager at Digital/Compaq with over thirty years of experience in materials management, marketing and customer service. "I am extremely excited about the hands on approach to teaching science," he said. "My daughter is a fourth-grade teacher and she has told me how much more kids learn when they work with materials than they do when reading from a textbook. I feel good knowing that I can make a difference in children's learning about science and that I am able to put a smile on their faces when they see science kits arrive in their classrooms."

Ann Hurd, Public Affairs Manager for Intel Massachusetts, also commented on the value of hands-on learning. "Intel is very pleased to provide initial funding to help ramp up this program. It is our hope that these materials will help science come alive and reinforce the powers of inquiry and observation in the students who will receive them."

The mission of the Resource Center is to support Massachusetts' school districts in improving mathematics, science and technology education for all students. The Center provides professional development for teachers and administrators, technical assistance to districts implementing new standards-based mathematics and science curriculum, the loan of curriculum materials, scientific supplies and equipment as well as a fully equipped laboratory for teacher and student use. The programs of the Regional Science Resource Center are under the supervision of Deborah Harmon Hines, Associate Vice Chancellor of School Services at UMMS.

"Outreach to K-12 education is one of the seven points of UMass Medical School's mission statement, said Dr. Hines. Science To Go is a part of our continued commitment to serve the people of the Commonwealth. We view this effort as an investment in the development of children and youth being academically prepared for the challenging educational programs at UMMS. We hope to cultivate future physicians, nurses, scientists, technicians and teachers," she continued. "Science To Go will make it easier for the classroom teacher to bring hands-on science activities into the classroom. This innovative thinking 'outside the box' is a prime example of how we encourage teachers and their students to think."

Originally founded in 1994 by the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research as a collaboration between foundation scientists and area educators, the Regional Science Resource Center became part of UMMS's comprehensive science educational outreach initiative when the Foundation merged with the medical school in 1997. Based on the philosophy that by working together, teachers, students and the scientific community can enhance the quality of public science education, the Resource Center helps teachers implement more inquiry-based, student-centered science curricula. Thanks to support from numerous organizations like Intel Foundation, a wide range of resources for scientific investigations and professional development opportunities are available through the Center.

Intel's funding for this program is a part of the Intel Innovation in Education initiative, a global, multi-million dollar effort to help realize the possibilities of science and technology in education. Intel develops and supports education programs that help meet the needs of students and communities worldwide through improving science, math, engineering and technology education; improving education through the effective use of technology in classrooms; and broadening access to technology and technical careers. For more information, please visit www.intel.com/education This link goes to an external web site.

Intel, the world's largest computer-chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom This link goes to an external web site.

Intel Massachusetts, Inc., began operations in May of 1998. The Intel campus in Hudson includes the Massachusetts Development Center, the regional focal point for the design of the company's most advanced semiconductor products and technologies, and a semiconductor fabrication facility. Products manufactured, assemble, or tested in Hudson include chipsets and microprocessors, such as Intel's StrongARM, and PCI Bridge and Networking products.