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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Optics in the Great Exploration in Math and Science (GEMS) program: a summary of effective pedagogical approaches
Author(s): Stephen M. Pompea; Tan Kah Gek

Paper Abstract

This paper examines how optics is treated in instructional materials developed for the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Program at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. The GEMS program is a prominent resource for teachers in the United States and in many other countries. It represents a widely acknowledged, innovative approach to science and mathematics education. GEMS teacher's guides and handbooks offer a wide range of supplementary learning experiences for preschool through 8th grade (about age 13). Two guides already developed (Color Analyzers and More than Magnifiers) and one under development (working title: Invisible Universe) have a strong emphasis on fundamentals of optics. The organization and approaches of the guides will be described, with particular emphasis on the pedagogical approach represented. GEMS activities engage students in direct experience and experimentation in order to introduce essential, standards- based principles and concepts. Overwhelming educational evidence that students learn best by doing is the basis for the GEMS approach.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2002
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 4588, Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, (28 May 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.468687
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen M. Pompea, Pompea & Associates (United States)
Tan Kah Gek, Singapore GEMS Ctr. (Singapore)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4588:
Seventh International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Tuan-Kay Lim; Robert P. Breault; Arthur H. Guenther; Arthur H. Guenther, Editor(s)

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