Teachers Learn from Studying Microbes at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Article excerpt

Five secondary school science teachers are spending four weeks as Foundation Scholars at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation studying microbes - tiny, living organisms like bacteria and fungi, many of which cause disease.

With guidance from senior-level OMRF scientists, the teachers assume the role of students to learn lab techniques that they can take back to their schools to share with their students.

"The thought of working alongside scientists made me nervous at first, but I'm enjoying this experience," said Gayla Hatfield, a science teacher at Okemah Middle School. "It is challenging, but the support I get is more than enough to help me learn scientific topics and skills."

At lab benches stacked with petri dishes, microscopes and computers within arm's reach, the teachers grow, observe and discuss the tiny life forms and how they can be used to creatively teach students about biology and other sciences.

The scholars, all secondary-level teachers, were selected from a statewide pool of applicants. They will receive a $2,000 stipend as well as $1,000 in lab and classroom supplies. …