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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ:

Gowan Science Academy Earns Highest Scores in Arizona on AIMS Science Test

courtesy Gowan Science Academy

Among the nearly 1200 Arizona elementary schools tested, fourth grade students at Yuma’s Gowan Science Academy earned the highest score on the science portion of the 2015 AIMS standardized exam.

Principal Jamie Haines attributed the success, in part, to the integrated way science is taught at the school.

“We take all of our subjects and intertwine them together, because we know that’s what makes the most sense for kids,” Haines said.

Fourth grade instructors Eileen Klingaman and Tamara Van Sickle co-teach science. Van Sickle said the lessons focus on what’s called inquiry-based learning.

“We give them topics and essential questions to then go research, but they go out and find that knowledge themselves. And then we come back and confirm if what they found is correct or if they have misconceptions," Van Sickle said.

"It really enables them to have ownership of their learning, rather than standing up and lecturing all day, which makes it much more fun for them," she added.

Gowan Science Academy opened in August 2013, and this is the second year students at the school took the AIMS exam. Last year, they placed third in the state on the science section.