Spring 2003



Previous Newsletters

Current Issue

Contact the Editor

Alabama Science In Motion

The Alabama Science in Motion (ASIM) program is a visionary educational project established in 1994 by the Alabama State Legislature. The program continues to receive 2.5 million dollars annually as a line item within the budget of the State Department of Education. The goals of Science in Motion are to increase student interest in science through high tech laboratory experiences; provide equitable resources to all public school systems across the state; and to enhance teaching through effective professional development. ASIM is a network of resources designed to provide the equipment, discipline training, and preparation support needed to run an effective secondary science laboratory program. In many instances the cost of the equipment involved would be prohibitive for individual schools or even systems. Sharing this equipment through Science in Motion offers these opportunities to students and teachers from all backgrounds with no cost to either the teachers or the schools. In addition, free professional development workshops improve teacher mastery of subject matter and equipment use. Through these workshops teachers from different school systems gain the opportunity to network with peers, sharing both content knowledge and teaching techniques.

Eleven Science in Motion sites are based at state universities that are Regional In-service Centers. Each site supports two of the three major high school science disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics. Certified secondary science instructors from each discipline conduct training and development sessions for participating teachers at the host university. These master teachers also provide on site support ranging from equipment drop-offs to team-teaching in the high school laboratory.

In order to participate in ASIM, teachers must attend training sessions at their host university. As compensation, teachers are paid travel expenses and a modest stipend according to state guidelines. Each host site provides 15 days of teacher in-service per discipline. The majority of this training occurs during the 10 days of summer training. The summer sessions are designed to update and strengthen content knowledge, familiarize the teachers with the use and operation of ASIM equipment, and to model teaching strategies that are successful with a broad range of students. Follow-up workshops during the school year allow teachers to “fine tune” their knowledge and to share suggestions and experiences from their classroom with other teachers of the same discipline.

As a sample of the impact ASIM has had on Physics instruction across the state, please consider the following data from the 2000/2001 academic year. Five of the eleven sites support a physics program. Combined, these sites impacted 1332 physics sessions across 49 school systems, 95 schools, 112 teachers, and 6080 students at a statewide cost per student of just $46.26. In addition, on average, 16 days of in-service training were provided by each of the 5 physics sites.

For further information and a complete listing of experiments available at Auburn University’s contact

Dan O’Halloran
Physics Specialist
Science in Motion
206 Allison Lab
Auburn University, Al 36830
Phone:(334) 844-6950