Earth System Science Education Alliance
The Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) professional development program is providing in-depth geoscience content and teaching methods to pre- and in-service teachers. The program is building and expanding on NASA's successful ESSEA program that was funded from 2000-2005. Now sponsored by NSF, the network has expanded to nearly 40 institutions of higher learning committed to teacher Earth system science education. The program supports participating institutions with funding, training, and standards-aligned courses and resources for pre- and in-service teachers. As a result, teachers are prepared to teach Earth system science using inquiry-based classroom methods, geoscience data and tools. From 1999-2005, the NASA funded ESSEA Program delivered online Earth system science professional development for K-12 teachers through a network of 20 colleges and universities. The program was led by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and based on a trio of 16-week online courses (for elementary, middle, and high school teachers) that had been developed and piloted by NASA's Classroom of the Future at Wheeling Jesuit University. The ESSEA program's mission was to: 1) support universities, colleges, and science education organizations delivering the K-12 online graduate courses; 2) strengthen teachers' understanding of Earth system science; 3) demonstrate the ability to deliver exceptional professional development to a national audience; and 4) create a solid infrastructure to sustain the program. As of spring 2006, the courses had been used by 40 faculty at 20 institutions educating over 1,700 K-12 teachers in Earth system science. Through NSF funding beginning in late 2006, IGES is enhancing and building on the ESSEA foundation by: 1. Introducing extensive use of data, models and existing Earth system educational materials to support the courses; 2. Implementing a rigorous evaluation program designed to demonstrate growth in teachers' Earth systems content knowledge; 3. Using the ESSEA courses as a model to introduce newly upgrade Earth system science undergraduate and graduate courses; and 4. Disseminating model teaching practices and program success through annual conferences and presentations at national and regional geoscience and science teacher conferences. ESSEA has created a national professional development program aimed at improving the knowledge, skills, and resources of Earth system science educators. This professional development program offers state-of-the-art, online courses to promote understanding of Earth system science, to encourage communication and cooperation among teachers, and to facilitate the use of exceptional classroom materials. IGES furthers this vision by; updating the courses with additional tools, modules, and resources; and providing continuing support to institutions and faculty teaching middle-high school teachers (pre- and in-service) using the ESSEA courses and instructional resources. URL Address: http://esseacourses.strategies.org/ http://esseacourses.strategies.org/
Earth Science by Design: Teaching the Big Ideas in Earth System Science
Developed by TERC and the American Geological Institute with funding from the National Science Foundation, Earth Science by Design (ESBD) is a year-long program of professional development for middle or high school teachers based on the Understanding by Design approach pioneered by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. ESBD is designed to help teachers: · Teach for deep and enduring understanding of the "big ideas" in Earth system science. · Use "backward design" to create curriculum units and lessons that are engaging, rigorous, and aligned with national, state, and local standards. · Design effective classroom assessments and rubrics. · Incorporate powerful web-based Earth science visualizations and satellite imagery into an Earth system science approach. ESBD has developed a complete professional development package for staff developers and geoscience educators, including: · The ESBD Handbook, which provides everything you need to offer the program, including detailed workshop lesson plans. · The ESBD Web Site, where teachers can develop curriculum units online (www.esbd.org). · Online resources for Earth Science teaching and learning. · PowerPoint presentations for workshops and courses. · DVD of teacher reflections on their implementation experiences. In this session we will review the resources which ESBD makes available for geoscience educators: ·sample Earth science units produced by teachers in the program, ·field test results, ·the effect of the program on teacher practice, ·and how geoscience educators can get involved with ESBD. ESBD has been field-tested by staff developers in eight sites nationwide and is being adapted by college and university geoscience educators for use with pre-service teachers. In this session we will report on the results of field testing and on an experimental study of ESBD and other professional development approaches funded by the US Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences. http://www.esbd.org
Teach the Earth: On-line Resources for Teachers and Teachers of Teachers
Effective Earth science education depends on excellent teachers: teachers who not only possess a strong grasp of geoscience but are also well-versed in the pedagogic methods they need to connect with their audience. Preparing Earth science teachers is a task no less challenging that also requires strengths in both areas. The Teach the Earth website provides a variety of resources to support preparation of Earth science teachers. Here you can find collections of teaching activities addressing all aspects of the Earth system; discussions of teaching methods linked to examples of their use in geoscience courses; and the Earth Exploration Toolbook, a resource specifically designed for teachers who would like to incorporate data rich activities in their teaching. These resources are suitable for use by teachers, students in courses addressing the methodology of teaching Earth science and science, and faculty designing courses. Faculty working with current and future teachers will find a section on Preparing Teachers to Teach Earth Science with a collection of courses designed specifically to benefit future Earth Science teachers, examples of key activities in these courses, and descriptions of programs for pre-service and in-service teachers. The materials housed in this web-resource demonstrate a wide range of fruitful approaches and exciting opportunities. On the order of 25,000 individuals use the site repeatedly during the year. We estimate that 27 percent of these users are geoscience faculty and 12 percent are teachers. We invite teachers, faculty, researchers, and educators to enhance this resource by contributing descriptions of activities, courses, or programs as a mechanism for sharing their experience with others engaged in similar work. http://serc.carleton.edu
Design, Development, and Evaluation of an Integrated Mathematics and Science Course to Teach Earth System Science to Preservice Middle School Teachers
Pre-service middle school teachers receive a mixed representation of science during their university education. Science disciplines and mathematics are taught with little attention to integration. Earth system science is seldom presented. Fort Hays State University (FHSU) has addressed this issue through the development of an Integrated Mathematics and Science Course (development partially supported through National Science Foundation's CCLI Program under DUE#0088818 and DUE#0311042). The course was designed by an interdisciplinary team using a "cycles-of-nature" theme to integrate across earth and space science, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Several of the themes were earth system science based (e.g. Climate Cycles, Seasonal Cycles, Geophysical Cycles). The course also incorporated statistical analysis of data, estimations, and reading scientific literature. To promote pre-service teachers abilities to do authentic science, six to eight weeks of the fifteen week course were utilized for the preservice teachers to design, conduct, and present a self-designed research project based on the content of the course. Evaluation data from the course indicated that it was successful in a) changing university faculty perceptions of teaching science, b) illustrating novel approaches to preservice teachers, c) improving an understanding of the nature of science in preservice teachers, and d) increasing the preservice teachers understanding of the integrated nature of science.
Graduate Student and High School Teacher Partnerships Implementing Inquiry-Based Lessons in Earth Science
Partnering science graduate students with high school teachers in their classroom is a mutually beneficial relationship. Graduate students who may become future university level faculty are exposed to teaching, classroom management, outreach scholarship, and managing time between teaching and research. Teachers benefit by having ready access to knowledgeable scientists, a link to university resources, and an additional adult in the classroom. Partnerships in Research Opportunities to Benefit Education (PROBE), a recent NSF funded GK-12 initiative, formed partnerships between science and math graduate students from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and local high school science teachers. A primary goal of this program was to promote inquiry-based science lessons. The teacher-graduate student teams worked together approximately twenty hours per week on researching, preparing, and implementing new lessons and supervising student-led projects. Several new inquiry-based activities in Geology and Astronomy were developed as a result of collaboration between an Earth Science graduate student and high school teacher. For example, a "fishbowl" activity was very successful in sparking a classroom discussion about how minerals are used in industrial materials. The class then went on to research how to make their own paint using minerals. This activity provided a capstone project at the end of the unit about minerals, and made real world connections to the subject. A more involved geology lesson was developed focusing on the currently popular interest in forensics. Students were assigned with researching how geology can play an important part in solving a crime. When they understood the role of geologic concepts within the scope of the forensic world, they used techniques to solve their own "crime". Astronomy students were responsible for hosting and teaching middle school students about constellations, using a star- finder, and operating an interactive planetarium computer program. In order to successfully convey this information to the younger students, the high school students had to learn their material well. This model of pairing graduate students with science teachers is continuing as a component of the Transforming Earth System Science Education (TESSE) program.
Laboratory Earth: Connecting Everything to Everything Else Online for Pre-college Educators
The Laboratory Earth professional development series, which has been funded by NASA, consists of three, three- credit hour, graduate level, distance-delivered, online courses designed for K– 8 (and above) educators. Currently, we have delivered two module-based courses, Laboratory Earth I: Earth and its Systems and Laboratory Earth II: Earth's Natural Resource Systems. A third course tentatively titled, Laboratory Earth: Earth's Changing Environments, is under development. Our objectives are to deliver a high quality professional development experience, improve participant's ability to understand and apply Earth system science concepts in their classroom, and to increase teacher's sense of belonging to a community. Each course consists of four modules that engage students using multiple strategies to meet a variety of learning styles. To document learning, content questions are used to focus the student on the concepts they will be learning throughout the course. These questions are also used to assess the progress the student has made toward learning the concepts from the beginning to the end of the course. Analysis of the responses to the content questions from Lab Earth I demonstrates significant knowledge gains from the beginning to the end of the course. Preliminary data also suggests that the extent of learning is higher in the 8-week version than it is in the 16-week version of the course. An implicit goal of the courses is to help participants focus on learning, not grades. Unfortunately, grades have to be issued. Our grading strategy has evolved to a system that uses the ability of students to master course content along with active participation and the on-time, quality completion of the grading elements in the course. Course content mastery can be demonstrated in a variety of ways and it is up to the student to choose the method that they would like to use. Methods include writing essays, creating presentations, preparing an oral journal, and developing concept maps. If tasks that a student submits are not complete, they are asked to revisit the assignment. The goal is for the student to be intrinsically motivated to learn the material and reduce the need for grades as a motivator and distract from their learning. We want everyone to work until they have the required concept knowledge and understanding. The combined results from STEBI-A (teacher efficacy for teaching science scale), LEO, (scale to assess teacher's sense of community within the course), and BES (Beliefs About Earth Science to assess the degree to which teachers enjoy teaching science) demonstrate statistically significant growth in teachers' sense of cohesion of the course and the value they place on teaching Earth science. The Laboratory Earth series is a key component of an initiative to create a collaborative online, distance delivered, masters degree program at UNL.
Integrating Earth System Science Data Into Tribal College and University Curricula
Universities Space Research Association and Sinte Gleska University (SGU) have teamed with eight Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to participate in a NASA Earth Science funded project, TRibal Earth Science and Technology Education (TRESTE) project which focuses on TCU faculty teaching undergraduate Earth science courses to non-science and science students, with particular attention to TCU faculty teaching K-12 pre- and in- service teachers. The eight partner TCUs are: Blackfeet Community College (BCC), Browning, MT, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Cloquet, MN, Fort Berthold Community College, New Town, ND, Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago, NE, Oglala Lakota College, Pine Ridge, SD, Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, ND, Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, ND, United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), Bismarck, ND. The goal of this 3-year project is to promote the use of NASA Earth science data and products in the classroom thereby enabling faculty to inspire undergraduate students to careers in Earth system science, the physical sciences, and related fields of science and engineering. To accomplish this goal we are targeting three areas: (1) course content - enhance the utilization of Earth system science and physical science concepts, (2) teaching methodology - develop problem-based learning (PBL) methods, and (3) tools and technology - increase the utilization of GIS and remote sensing in the classroom. We also have enlisted ESRI, NativeView and the USGS as collaborators. To date we have held an introductory "needs" workshop at the USGS EROS Data Center and two annual workshops, one at UTTC and the second at BCC. During these annual workshops we have divided our time among the three areas. We have modeled the workshops using the PBL or Case Study approach by starting with a story or current event. Topics for the annual workshops have been Drought and Forest and Grassland Fires. These topics led us into the solar radiation budget, surface energy budgets, climate and climate change, impacts, etc. GIS and remote sensing training has focused on importing, converting and displaying data sets related to drought and fires. The Integrated Science courses at SGU, designed primarily for pre-service elementary teachers, have incorporated physical science concepts and teaching approaches presented at the TRESTE annual workshops. The content of the courses follows the PBL teaching approach and is organized around a relevant, local problem such as prairie dog control and prairie management. Concepts from Earth, life and physical sciences are included in the course design. The fall course is introduced using recent news articles on legislation to control prairie dogs. After expressing their ideas based solely on experience and emotion, students determine what knowledge they will need to write an informed opinion on the issue. One of the instructional units for the course includes instruction and practice in interpreting satellite images of the local reservation to determine impact of prairie dog towns on vegetation. Students also conduct soil studies in the disturbed areas and nearby undisturbed areas. Data is gathered on soil chemistry, soil temperatures, and surface temperatures, measured with an infrared sensor provided by the TRESTE grant. Additional topics covered in the course that contain information from the annual workshops, include prairie fires, climate and climate change, and effects of the drought on local bodies of water. http://space.hsv.usra.edu/TRESTE/
From Teacher-at-Sea to Authentic Science in the Classroom
Research has shown that most teachers will teach the way they have been taught, unless a sustainable intervention has taken place. This has the greatest implications for teachers of science, where those who have been taught with inquiry approaches will employ inquiry approaches in their classrooms, and those who have been taught with lecture and note taking will teach primarily using lectures and note taking. If our children are to learn about the nature of science, they need to be taught using constructivist and inquiry methods. A teacher who only uses textbooks and lectures will not create students who can employ critical thinking skills indicative of the nature of science. There is a way to change the way our teachers teach science, and that is by exposing teachers to authentic inquiry. The Teacher at Sea Program sponsored by Institut Polaire Francais (IPEV) created such an opportunity for 4 teachers, who participated in the PACHIDERME deep sea sediment cruise on the R/V Marion Dufresne off the coast of Chile for 3 weeks in February, 2007. While onboard the teachers assisted research scientists from France, Germany, Norway, and Chile in their quest to gather and analyze sediment cores for clues to past climates. The teachers were immersed in the research projects right from the start. They all participated in a "watch" and assisted those on the watch with the processing of the cores, which included properly labeling and packaging each of the core segments. Prior to the packaging, preliminary analysis was done to identify the physical and biological attributes of the core. The scientists gave of their time to coach the teachers not only on the techniques they were using, but also on the process of science. Whether it's working on an unstable platform, coring into the unknown, or adjusting to the weather that Mother Nature brings, the nature and process of science out at sea is complicated. The teachers came to realize this as they sailed in and out of the fjord region and into the open ocean off the coast of Chile, and shared these experiences with colleagues and students from around the world. They sent daily logs via email, sent pictures, and answered questions sent by teachers and students from Europe, the United States, and Chile. Students kept journals as they followed the daily events of the teachers at sea. A powerpoint presentation documenting the scientific endeavors of the cruise was created and is being used by many teachers as a tool to show how scientific research is done at sea. Was this cruise effective in changing the teaching styles of those teachers on board? The teachers observed how scientists generate questions, propose study plans, and employ creative methods to answer those questions. Having witnessed the nature and process first hand, these teachers reassessed their teaching styles for scientific validity. They are employing a greater number of open/full inquiry projects where the students are constructing and seeking to answer their own questions. These students will leave their classes knowing about the challenges of doing science, and the excitement in doing science. Whether it's out at sea, in the field, or in a lab, the participation of teachers in authentic inquiry is the best way to ensure our students are participating in authentic inquiry.