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Blue Valley-Randolph gets $10,000 grant for new science kits

By Kristina Jackson

The Blue Valley-Randolph School District has been awarded a $10,000 grant to purchase new Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits.

The kits, funded by America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, offer students a chance to experience hands-on science education.

Blue Valley High School science teacher Ruth Hutson said the district has been using the FOSS kits for more than 10 years, but they recently decided to update their curriculum.

A new curriculum meant new FOSS kits, so Hutson said science teachers throughout the district came together to compile information for the grant.

“It’s expensive, but it’s the best out there,” Hutson said.

The kits cover a variety of topics, including the human body, electricity, chemistry and even building materials for kindergarteners.

Each kit includes not only a textbook for the topic, but all the materials needed to conduct an experiment in that area. Hutson said this allows students to collect their own data and interpret it.

Superintendent Brady Burton said the hands-on quality of the program helps motivate students in the classroom.

“It means more to kids,” Burton said. “It’s more realistic, so they can relate to how they can use it in everyday life.”

Hutson sees this in her classrooms, as well.

She said the FOSS curriculum teaches students not only to collect data, but to wonder what the data actually means. When started early, she said, it helps prepare them for more advanced science.

“If a student doesn’t learn how to properly observe how science is ever changing in middle school, they’re not going to understand science at the high school level,” Hutson said.

She said this heightened understanding would create more informed individuals as well as a more informed public.

“The general public needs to know how science works so that they can understand why science changes over time. We have a better understanding of the world because we get more knowledge.”

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