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Teachers hope to motivate with challenge-based learning


"CINCINNATI --"Interest in science and math has been sliding for years, but teachers are trying to reverse the trend this summer.
"We have found out students between the ages of 15 and 18 (years old) in the United States rank 24th in the world in science and engineering," said Attila Kilinc, professor of geochemistry at the University of Cincinnati.

Some UC professors are working with teachers from local schools with the help of funding from the National Science Foundation.

They hope to change the way teachers instruct on those subjects.

"Challenge-based learning is when we present a challenge to the students and they decide the approach they want to use to solve it," said Lillian Sims, a geophysics teacher at Shroder High School.

Her class is studying earthquakes, and she's challenging them to design a better building.

Sims tests them and asks them to defend their solution in hopes that they'll carry those lessons with them into adulthood.

The method works for math, too.

"When we did the building stability, just the stability alone, when we were doing the cross-bracing you can use the Pythagorean theorem, (and) that's what I'm going to have my students do," said Kelly Denu, math teacher at Goshen Middle School.

The program is still in its beginning stages, but it could be expanded across the country if it's successful."