Victoria McElveen teachers middle school science in the Rankin County School District in Mississippi. The district recently adopted Gizmos, and she thinks “it is the best investment our school has made for the sake of the middle school science department. I work out of a regular education classroom, and do not have access to a lab, so Gizmos have completely changed the thinking and learning within my classroom.”
Ms. McElveen has a diverse group of students. She teaches 8th grade honors classes, a regular education 8th grade class, and three 7th grade classes. She uses Gizmos in her classes in a variety of ways. “Students can use a Gizmo individually, in small groups, or as a whole group. My 7th graders do not have their own computers, so many times we will do an activity as a whole class. I am able to call students up to the board to demonstrate different activities, and the whole class can follow along in the packet. My 8th graders are 1:1 with computers, so in their classes, I instruct them to work individually, but communicate with each other while they work. Gizmos are so versatile. They can be used in many different ways.”
Her favorite Gizmos include the Balancing Chemical Equations Gizmo, because “it provides a visual of the atoms for the students so that they can manipulate the numbers to get the equation balanced,” and the Circuits Gizmo. In the Circuits Gizmo, “students were able to extend their lab activity by learning more about the parts of a circuit. I don’t have access to a fuse or a switch, but with the Gizmo students were able to visualize how those items work in a circuit.”
Ms. McElveen adds, “Gizmos has totally changed the environment of my classroom. Gizmos have helped me give up some control and responsibility in my classroom. They allow students to explore, investigate, analyze, and draw conclusions. Gizmos gives me the ability to teach my students about true inquiry and give them the best lab experience possible.”
Recently, her school district made a video of Ms. McElveen teaching with Gizmos for a Best Practices/Teaching Modeling Series. Check out the video to see how she uses manipulatives and the Circuit Builder Gizmo in her classroom.
Victoria McElveen teaches 7th and 8th grade science in the Rankin County School District in Mississippi. Before she became a teacher, she worked as a Radiologic Technologist.