The COVID-19 pandemic created multiple challenges for educators, including how to provide hands-on, interactive lessons and opportunities in the classroom.
Charleston County School District’s new Science Instructional Specialist Deborah Batzer recognized that challenge. When the district applied for a grant from the Bosch Community Fund, she requested funds to acquire Gizmos for every CCSD elementary school.
For the past eight years, Bosch Community Fund has awarded CCSD a grant for project-based inquiry projects. This school year, CCSD received nearly $20,000 to purchase Gizmos, the interactive math and science simulation program for third through fifth graders (the district had already purchased Gizmos to supplement middle and high school classrooms).
“Gizmos align with the latest state standards that help educators bring powerful new learning experiences to their classes,” explained Batzer. “The interactive design allows for extensive manipulation of variables and ‘what-if’ experimentation.”
Gizmos are available to every teacher in the district to supplement their lessons and instruction in math and science. They give students something to graph, measure, and compare, even predict and prove. Students can discover concepts, analyze data and go deeper with in-depth activities creating moments to explore, learn, and apply new ideas.
“Gizmos provides hundreds of opportunities where students don’t just act like scientists and mathematicians…they are scientists and mathematicians,” added Batzer. “Gizmos use innovative technology to create new pathways for learning in both the virtual and in-person classrooms.”
CCSD received the funding in the fall, teachers were trained on Gizmos in the winter, and students started using them this spring. Once the school year ends, teachers, administrators, and district staff members will discuss the program’s effectiveness and collaborate on an implementation plan for next year.