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Maiden science lesson broadcasts on Internet

March 21, 2012

A Maiden Elementary School classroom went live on Wednesday with the Discovery Channel.

Students in Aleshia Abernathy’s fourth-grade class all participated in a live episode of Discovery Education’s Seasonal Science Stream that is broadcast to more than 30 classrooms throughout the nation and around the globe.

The monthly stream is sent out live to classrooms as an educational aid that aims to blend interactive, hands-on activities with digital, pre-recorded slides, said Brad Fountain, director of instructional implementation for Discovery Education.

“There is a connection between real-world activities and digital media,” Fountain said. “We’re here to help educators see that there is a critical component of connecting digital media and technology with real-world applications.”

Discovery Education’s Patti Duncan led Wednesday’s lesson on “Mars Madness,” which focused on the solar system. The lesson switched back and forth between live activities with Maiden Elementary School students and digital slides that expound upon subjects in more depth.

Fountain said classrooms throughout North America log on to the broadcast. On Wednesday, more than 30 classrooms stretching from Indiana, North Carolina, California and even Nova Scotia were participating in the live stream, Fountain said.

The lesson focused on planets, the earth’s rotation, galaxies and moons — subjects that excited Leo Morris, a fourth-grade student in Abernathy’s class.

“This is pretty cool, especially that’s it all about space,” Morris said.

In addition to a pre-recorded dance and sing-a-long that all the students participated in for the broadcast, Morris helped demonstrate an activity during the live sessions.

“I’ve always had an interest in space. If you went to my room, you would see that,” Morris said, adding that he is especially interested in black holes and dark matter. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and the whole class. I’m super excited to watch it, and I’ll have to show my parents.”

Discovery Education picked Maiden after working with the school on its digital textbook service.

“When I told them we would be featured on Discovery Education, they were so excited,” Abernathy said. “We love Discovery Education and use it multiple times.”

Abernathy said she does think the implementation of digital aid helps students' overall learning.

“It’s so organized and user-friendly that any teacher can use it,” she said.

“I’m so glad we got this opportunity to be a part of it.”

The March Seasonal Stream will be available online on Discovery Education’s YouTube page.

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