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Explorer science teacher makes sense of density


Last updated 11/30/2011 at Noon

The concept of density will never be taught the same again at Explorer Middle School – or, for that matter, at other middle schools throughout the nation.

Explorer science teacher Kent Treadgold developed a lesson that has been uploaded to the Internet for the benefit of science teachers throughout the U.S.

His video, “Making Sense of Density,” can be seen on The Teaching Channel, a new website launched by the Gates Foundation earlier this year.

The Teaching Channel films teachers in the state performing lessons in all subject areas and all grade levels from K-12.

The lessons are then uploaded to the site for teachers everywhere to view and modify to their own curriculum.

“The whole idea here is that a teacher can watch this and decide if it will work in their classroom,” Treadgold said.

In addition to videos, teachers also can upload lesson plans, lab activities, and receive personal interviews from The Teaching Channel about their lessons.

“They can download the other documents and adapt them to their classroom,” Treadgold said.

Treadgold was offered the opportunity to create his video last school year when The Teaching Channel was in its beginning stages.

Several educators who were fascinated with his teaching abilities recommended Treadgold to the Gates Foundation’s project.

“I was a little surprised,” Treadgold said of being selected for the website. “They just said they got my name from several recommendations, and they wouldn’t say who it was that recommended me.”

Treadgold’s class was filmed last year performing the density lab, and he was interviewed by members from the website.

There were plenty of eager students who volunteered to be in the video as well.

“It was an enjoyable experience,” Treadgold said. “The students had a lot of fun, and were excited to see themselves on the web.”

Treadgold said that density has been one of the most difficult concepts he has taught over his 12 years at Explorer.

“It [density] is not something you can see and easily understand,” he said.

He said his lesson on density has evolved over the years. After initially making mistakes, his method of teaching the concept has strengthened through trial and error.

Nowadays, he said density is one of his favorite concepts to teach, and he is happy to be able to use the Internet to teach others.

“The Web is a powerful tool for education,” he said.

He said websites such as the Teaching Channel are doing great things for education.

“I can see things that other teachers are doing and steal or adapt them for my classes,” he said.

He hopes his video makes a positive impact for teachers who view it.

“I hope that there are other teachers who will see this, maybe build on it, and go off on new directions,” he said.

To view Treadgold’s lesson on density, search “Making Sense of Density” at

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.


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