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Teachers have fun with science

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. - Although some people perceive science as being a boring subject, some Tri-State teachers are learning that it can be quite fun.

Elementary teachers are participating in a new science program called "Teaching Our Youth Science," or TOYS for short.

The program focuses on showing the teachers how to make subjects like chemistry and physics more interesting to their students.

The workshop is sponsored by Marathon Ashland Petroleum, and is being conducted at the MAP Catlettsburg Refinery England Hill Training Center in Catlettsburg, Ky.

Approximately 24 teachers are giving up two weeks of their summer vacation and seem to be loving every minute of the workshop.

"They were just giggling like little kids over these exercises," said Dianne Clement,

advanced community relations representative for MAP and organizer of the workshop.

TOYS involves projects such as flying airplanes and making hovercrafts from old CDs, balloons, tops of sport drinks and the tops of water bottles.

"Teachers will have a better appreciation when teaching these projects to their students because they have had so much fun doing the projects themselves," Clement said.

Rae Ann Mains, a teacher at St. Joseph High School, is the only participant from Ohio. She said she has had a great experience so far.

"It has been great, and I have been learning a lot," Mains said. "I have already started planning for next year and including projects from this workshop."

Mains is an English, reading and science teacher for seventh and eighth grades. She is hopeful that she can include these projects in all three of these subjects.

"These projects should cross over into all areas that I teach and I plan to incorporate them," she said.

Melanie Rockwell, a second- and third-grade teacher at Summit Elementary in Ashland, Ky., also said she enjoyed the workshop.

"I love this training.

It shows more hands-on activities. It really shows us the how and why," Rockwell said.

"This is the best training I've ever been to."

Rockwell brought her son, Hunter, and found that some students would be more receptive to these types of activities.

"If they would do this in my grade and in (higher grades), kids would like school a lot better than they do now," Hunter said.

Hunter will be a seventh-grade student at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland, Ky.

The only veteran present at TOYS was Amanda Clark, who attended the workshop last year in Houston, Texas.

Clark is a fourth-grade teacher at Catlettsburg Elementary School in Catlettsburg, Ky.

Each participant of the program will receive four books and all the toys they have been working with for the past two weeks.

The instructors at the workshop are from Miami University of Ohio, where the program was first developed.

Hotel rooms for the instructors are being donated by the Ashland Plaza Hotel. The workshop will be completed by the end of this week.