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‘Science Teachers and Industry’ workshop at HCDE gives teachers bird’s eye view of local chemical industry

Teachers gain a better understanding of the chemical industry and area chemical plants through a summer workshop hosted by Harris County Department of Education sponsored by the Texas Chemical Council. In turn, area middle and high schools benefit by learning how science applies to the workplace.

The “Science Teachers and Industry” workshop held July 22-25 at HCDE addresses the chemical industry’s concern for the health and safety of its workers, community and the environment.

Academic science specialists and industry experts present a full scope of environmental viewpoints during the four-day workshop. Included are a field trip to a chemical plant, an overview of the Houston Ship Channel, careers in the chemical industry, and materials and experiments to take back to the classroom.

Bellaire High School science physics teacher Anastasia Furitsch attended the class last summer. The workshop helped give her insight on ways to approach common misconceptions about the chemical industry in her classroom, she said.

Duchesne Academy Middle School science teacher Kathy Duquesnay uses what she learned last summer as first-person background information for her “science questions of the day.”

“So much of the time science news is related to the chemical industry,” said Duquesnay, who teaches integrated physics and chemistry.  “The chemical industry is so involved in everyday products that we use.”

HCDE science specialist Lisa Felske coordinates the workshop and says the teachers meet chemical engineers, plant managers and other industry professionals as they tour a chemical plant each year. While at HCDE, teachers will gain an overview of the cycling of plastics–from raw materials to manufactured products to plastic recycling.

“Last year, we had an air panel discussion with industry representatives, environmental activists and state and local regulators,” Felske said. “This year we focus on water quality.

“The workshop gives teachers a different view and a look at the bigger picture.”

For more information about HCDE educator professional development and training, access www.hcde-texas.org.
About HCDE: Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 25 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Early Childhood Intervention and Head Start programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at www.hcde-texas.org.

 

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