Great Exploration in Math and Science (GEMS)
This is a University of California (Berkeley) program that we have incorporated to enhance our “hands-on” aspect of science and math learning for students in grades 1-8. It is a one period per week subject for Grades 1 to 3 and a two period per week subject for Grades 4 to 8
GEMS (Great Exploration in Math and Science) is a highly, flexible curriculum bringing exciting and effective science activities into school classrooms. GEMS focuses on different activities in the laboratory suited for Grade 1 which is also integrated with the California Standards Curriculum. GEMS activities use easy-to obtain, inexpensive materials and a guided discovery approach to science education with an emphasis on direct participation by individuals. These activities enable students to understand pivotal science and mathematics concepts and to develop inquiry skills needed in everyday life.
The GEMS guides present a sequence of activities. These sequences are chosen for their educational effectiveness. The Testing process of each guide often leads to a rearrangement of the sequence based on the test results. Sequence is critical in teaching about optics concepts. For example, a student may be exposed briefly to how the colors from different light sources combine (additive color mixing). Then they are exposed briefly to combining different color paints (color mixing by subtraction). The result might be very confusing for the student. The two ways of mixing may be best presented in a particular context or sequence.