Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science stated in a 2007 study that as many as 41% of elementary school teachers are not adequately prepared to teach elementary school science. Janis Chun, a former teacher with Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, has joined the team as the principal QuantumKids teacher. Chun has a degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and has an enthusiasm for teaching kids that is infectious. She worked closely with Nurmela and Finnegan to develop a curriculum for QuantumKids that translates the outstanding features of the QuantumCamp method to the developmental levels appropriate for younger children.
QuantumKids builds on QuantumCamp's rock-solid reputation for teaching science to middle school and high school students in ways that build crucial skills like critical thinking and problem solving while deepening their appreciation for the vital role that science plays in their everyday lives. Their methods emphasize hands-on discovery and inquiry-based learning to accelerate students' understanding and retention of key concepts.
Founders Ryan Nurmela and Michael Finnegan developed QuantumKids to respond to requests by parents who have been impressed with QC courses and wanted their younger children to benefit as well. The response of parents has been overwhelming:
As Chun says of the inaugural semester: "We are excited to be able to address what we see as a dearth of quality science instruction in the Bay Area for young children. We want to use teaching methods that work with kids' innate and vibrant curiosity. Our methods are empowering young kids to think their way through complex problems and discover the answers for themselves instead of simply memorizing facts from a textbook or watching a demo."
This unique method of teaching science has proven itself over and again during the past two years as parents see how their kids flourish: When kids learn science the QC way, they stay interested in science, are eager to learn more, and develop greater confidence in their ability to solve problems they have not previously encountered.
QuantumKids will extend these innovative methods to young children in ways that nurture their natural spirit of inquiry and curiosity so they can become lifelong learners and critical thinkers.
QuantumKids classes will be taught at the Berkeley and Mountain View campuses starting September 12, 2011. Courses run for 10 weeks meeting every week for 2 hours and are grouped in two-grade levels: K-1, 2-3, 4-5.
For more information or to ask about new QuantumKids courses being offering this winter and next spring, contact Janis Chun at 559-824-3045.
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QuantumCamp was founded in 2009 by Michael Finnegan Ph.D. and Ryan Nurmela, two former middle school teachers. They offer courses in mathematics and science for grades 6-10 and science for grades K-5. Courses are offered as either summer camps or quarter-long classes. They have locations in Berkeley and Mountain View.