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Clairton parents join push to improve science scores

| Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 3:51 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Clairton fourth-grader Arissa Wiggins, standing at right, shares a lesson on electricity by helping her brother Adonte, dad Andress and sister Aniyah connect circuits after school on Thursday.

Clairton parents tested their science skills by helping their children with classroom experiments on Thursday.

Clairton Education Center opened its doors to parents who wanted to learn more about how science is being taught, and what the expectations are for the new science component of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments and Keystone Exams.

Teachers are making science more enjoyable for elementary and middle school grades by using ASSET Inc. education kits.

“They're hands-on lessons,” teacher Tracy Parsons said. “They all build on one another, and we hope this is something that will do well for us this year.”

She said students seem to be responding well and absorbing information.

“It gets them into background information before we start any lessons,” Parsons said. “It gets the kids brainstorming.”

Parents said they're starting to see their children take an interest in science.

“As a parent, it's important to know what your kids are learning,” Andress Wiggins said during his visit to his daughters' classrooms.

“When you know what they're learning, you can help them out and give them insight.”

Wiggins and his daughter Anissa participated in a fourth-grade lesson about electricity. Teams of students and parents connected circuits, linking battery power with light bulbs.

“It's exciting,” Anissa said. “My dad is learning what I learned in school. It's nice to have him support me and come to class for all these projects.”

The Title I science workshop was the third in a series for Clairton parents who want to experience lessons in subjects included in PSSA testing. The others are math and language arts.

As an incentive for parents to continue their participation, there were door prizes and an opportunity for them to win a cupcake party for their children's classrooms.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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