Development of a Science Research Program for Special Needs Students
Originally designed for students in the top 20 percent of the class who had a strong interest in science, the Science Research Program in Woodbridge Township was expanded to include special needs students and others who had not previously demonstrated success and/or interest in science. New techniques to prepare, engage, and motivate special needs students in performing original research were developed and field-tested. A cooperative learning system where experienced research students acted as project mentors for the new special needs population was utilized. The program was extended to additional instructors by a teacher-training workshop for both science and special education teachers wishing to incorporate student-facilitated original research into their classrooms.
Design and Implementation of an Evaluation Methodology for the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program \(NFFP\)
The NFFP was created in 2002 to accommodate the needs and capabilities of both NASA and the university community. The program combines aspects of two successful former NASA programs, the NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program and the NASA/USRA JOint VEnture \(JOVE\) program. The NFFP contributes directly to NASA's strategic goal to "inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics", and NASA's Office of Education strategic objective to "strengthen NASA's involvement in higher education to enhance the nation's science and technology capability in NASA related fields to help meet NASA's future personnel needs." The primary goals of the NFFP are to increase the quality and quantity of research collaborations between NASA and the academic community that contribute to Agency research objectives; provide research opportunities for college and university faculty that serve to enrich their knowledge base; involve faculty in cutting-edge science and engineering challenges related to NASA's strategic enterprises, while providing exposure to the methods and practices of real-world research; facilitate interdisciplinary networking; and establish an effective education and outreach activity to foster greater awareness of the program. Participants are required to submit a research report and complete a program evaluation. The NFFP is evaluated using Web-based survey instruments in the NASA Education Evaluation Information System \(NEEIS\) that have been designed to collect data that measure program activities and accomplishments against program goals and NASA's education programs evaluation criteria. Data are collected from Faculty Fellows, NASA Colleagues, and students who accompanied Faculty Fellows. Participant Feedback Forms gather quantitative and qualitative information on research accomplishments, the benefits and impacts of the program, and overall program evaluation data. Follow-Up feedback instruments are designed to collect data that measures the effectiveness of the program in advancing sustained partnerships beyond the summer research collaboration, and the impact of the program on faculty's and students' accomplishments and career goals after participation in the program. An Annual Program Report is produced that highlights participants' accomplishments, statistical analysis, addresses issues, and provides recommendations for program enhancements.
The Role of University Science Faculty in Promoting Meaningful Educational Change Through Inservice Teacher Professional Development
The role of university faculty in promoting meaningful educational change through inservice teacher professional development has long been theorized, but seldom modeled. Cordial relations and clear mutual goals shared between discipline specialists, such as university scientists and the K - 12 staff development communities, have not existed, and dysfunctional relationships between K-12 schools and the university over the past century have inhibited the solidification of these meaningful professional development partnerships. Our research suggest that inservice teachers tend to learn more about scientific processes in settings where they have the opportunity to interact and engage in an environment where opportunities for learning are promoted by participation and work with professionals in the sciences: University scientists that fostered collaborative flexible environments and treated teachers as professionals appear to have had greater impacts on teachers' learning about the creative, imaginative, social, and cultural aspect of science than the university scientists who treated teachers as technicians. Our work challenges many of the seminal studies and in-depth literature reviews of the last 15 years that assert that an explicit/reflective approach is most effective in promoting adequate conceptions of science among both prospective and practicing teachers. It should be noted, however, that all of these previous studies were conducted in the context of preservice elementary and secondary science methods courses and the process of generalizing these findings to practicing teachers appears to have occurred only in literature reviews and is not clearly substantiated in published research reports. Our study recommends that science teacher professional development should involve initiating inservice teachers into the ideas and practices of the scientific community. Teaching is a learning profession and professional development contexts need to assign teachers a certain amount of responsibility for their own learning. The work of science teaching cannot be accomplished without teacher learning, and teachers of science learn about scientific communities when scientists invite them to engage in the context of scientific practice. Unfortunately, numerous state and federal policies do not support science teachers as they seek to achieve these ends. Many of these policies push schools and universities to design professional development offerings that attempt to generate social capital in order to improve the school as an organization and do not the enrich the individual science teacher. However, these systems of professional development do not acknowledge that scientific knowledge is rapidly changing and K - 12 science teachers and curricula require continual renewal if they are to be accessible and relevant to students' lives. The university is uniquely situated to provide contexts through which inservice teachers can realize the "social and cultural embeddedness of scientific knowledge" (Lederman et. al., 2002).
Field Studies in Science Teacher Preparation Programs: Examples of Research-Oriented Earth and Environmental Science Field Projects for Pre-service and In-service Teachers
Science teaching reforms of the past 10 to 20 years have focused on a pedagogical shift from verification-style laboratory exercises, toward hands-on and inquiry-based constructivist teaching methods. Such methods, however, require teachers to be proficient in more than just basic content and teaching strategies. To be effective teachers, these professionals must also be skilled in the design and implementation of research-style investigations. At Loyola College in Maryland, topics in the earth and environmental sciences are used as the basis for field research projects that teach our students science content, along with how to design age-appropriate investigative activities and how to implement them in a stimulating, inquiry-based learning environment. Presented here are examples of three projects, demonstrating how these themes are woven throughout our pre- and in-service teacher preparation programs, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 1. Watershed Studies - In our undergraduate, pre-service, elementary education teacher preparation program, students design and implement a water quality study in a local watershed. In the classroom, students use topographic maps and aerial photographs to delineate the watersheds' boundaries, to identify current land use patterns, and to select appropriate locations on the trunk stream for testing. Water testing at these sites is conducted during field trips, with data analysis and interpretation performed on-site. On-site work allows students to make connections between stream water quality and adjacent land use practices. Students then relate the content and research results to science teaching standards, in order to develop a unit-plan for use in their future classrooms. 2. Land Use Assessment - In our graduate, in-service, elementary and middle school science program, a local stream valley is used as the basis for an analysis of potential land use changes. Students first construct a topographic base map of the area, and then generate current land use/cover type maps. Soil texture, moisture, and depth data, as well as slope angle and infiltration/runoff potential information are collected throughout the map area, in order to assess the impact of proposed residential or agricultural land use changes. Students create maps delineating suitability and erosion potential, based upon their topographic maps and site data. A proposal for an analogous study, near the students' schools, is developed for use with their own students, as culmination of the project. 3. Climate Change - In our graduate, in-service, middle and high school earth science program, students are exposed to field research methods during a summer research project investigating relict shorelines of the Chesapeake Bay. In this project, students collect subsurface geophysical, sedimentological, and biological data through the use of ground penetrating radar, vibracoring, and hand-augering equipment. By combining the stratigraphy revealed in the radar records, with paleoenvironmental interpretations from sediment analyses and age estimates from fossil material encountered, students are able to construct cross sections of the region, delineating littoral deposits stemming from climate-induced, higher-than-present sea-level incursions. Students then prepare field and laboratory exercises for their own classrooms, relating the design and discoveries of the study to their own students. The students also participate in the preparation and presentation of their study in national and international scientific venues.
Using Teacher-Generated Ecological Models to Assess Knowledge Gained During Teacher Training
Developing a capacity for systems thinking (ways to understand complex systems) requires both immersion in challenging, real-world problem contexts and exposure to systems analysis language, tools and procedures, such as ecosystem modeling. Modeling is useful as a means of conveying complex, dynamic interactions. Models of ecosystems can facilitate an ability to be attentive to whole systems by illustrating multiple factors of interaction, feedback, subsystems and inputs and outputs, which lead to a greater understanding of ecosystem functioning. Concept mapping, which uses models of students' ideas organized hierarchically is used in assessment, but it does not having any outside utility. Ecosystem models, on the other hand, are legitimate end-products in and of themselves. A change made in a learner-generated model that conforms to patterns observed in nature by the learner can be seen as reflections of his or her understanding. Starting with their own reflections on previous ecological knowledge, teachers will model components of the ecosystem they are about to study. 'Teaching models' will be used to familiarize learners with the symbolic language of models and to teach some basic ecology concepts. Teachers then work directly with ecologists in conducting research, using the steps of a straightforward study as a guide, and then observe and discuss patterns in the data they have collected. Higher-order thinking skills are practiced through the reflective use of ecological models. Through a series of questions including analysis, relational reasoning, synthesis, testing, and explaining, pairs of teacher describe the principles and theories about ecology that they think might be operating in their models to one another. They describe the consequences of human-caused impacts and possible causal patterns. They explain any differences in their understanding of ecosystem interactions before and after their research experiences
Lessons Learned From Studying The Effects Of Forest Fires With High School Students
We evaluated the educational successes and challenges of a high school research project designed to assess the effects of a wildfire and subsequent logging on soil erosion during the 2004-2005 school year. The project is extra-curricular for students from Show Low High School in Arizona. Fieldwork is done on Saturdays and lab work is done during lunch periods and after school sessions. Using a silt fence, shovels, and brushes, students collect and measure erosion rates of unburned, burned, and burned and logged land. The project has involved 17 students, 3 female and 14 male students, and their two science teachers. A key goal of the project is to introduce a group of high school students to the process of scientific inquiry through fieldwork and scientific research. A core requirement of this project is that the students will be self-motivated and will lead all major field and laboratory efforts. Interviews of the students and teachers in the fall of 2004 and spring of 2005 are the primary source of the assessment of this project in addition to data collected by informal interviews during two field trips. Consistent student participation was a main challenge to this project in the first year. While most students continued with the program throughout the year, participation was sporadic and generally low during any one class or field session. This is partially due to not having a set schedule for activities and the challenge for students to self-motivate. Interestingly, despite their actual amount of involvement in the project, the students all consider themselves active members of the project and are generally proud of their efforts. To increase the consistency of student participation in the coming year a regular semester schedule has been set and student time and effort requirements have been increased and explicitly stated. Students have a great amount of choice in which role they will fulfill in the project, and which data gathering and analysis skills they want to learn and apply. In general the project has been successful in significantly exciting a core group of students about science and has the potential to influence these students' undergraduate and career choices.
GLOBE at Night: Scientific Research outside of the Classroom
Increased and robust understanding of our environment requires learning opportunities that take place outside of the traditional K-12 classroom and beyond the confines of the school day. GLOBE at Night is a new event within The GLOBE Program that provides a mechanism for a nontraditional learning activity involving teachers, students, and their families taking observations of the night sky around the world and reporting their observations via a central data base for analysis. To support activities centered on authentic research experiences such as GLOBE at Night, The GLOBE Program has changed its approach to professional development (PD). The new focus of GLOBE PD efforts is centered on teachers being able to facilitate student research in and out of the classroom reflective of authentic scientific research experiences. It has been recognized that there is a critical need for effective teacher professional development programs that support teacher involvement in meaningful scientific research that encourages partnerships between scientists, teachers, and students. Partnerships promoting scientific research for K-12 audiences provides the foundation for The GLOBE Program, an international inquiry-based program designed to engage teachers with their students in partnership with research scientists to better understand the environment at local, regional, and global scales. GLOBE is an ongoing international science and education program that unites students, teachers, and scientists in the study of the Earth System. Students participating in GLOBE engage in hands-on activities, including the collection, analysis, and sharing of research quality scientific data with their peers around the world. Students interact with members of the science community who use the data collected from locations around the world in their research - data that would often not be available otherwise. As of September 2005, over 30,000 teachers representing over 16,000 schools worldwide have participated in GLOBE workshops resulting in over 13 million environmental measurements reported by students to the GLOBE Web site. GLOBE at Night will utilize the GLOBE infrastructure and network to promote a week of night observations (February 2006) by teachers and students. The quality of the night sky for stellar observations is impacted by several factors, including human influences. GLOBE at Night will help scientists assess how the quality of the night sky varies around the world. The data that is collected will be accessible via the GLOBE Web site by scientists studying light pollution and will be available for use by teachers and students worldwide. GLOBE at Night is a collaborative effort of the NASA-sponsored GLOBE Program and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).
My Teacher got a Trip to Kitt Peak Observatory, but all I got was This Lousy Data CD: Lessons Learned in Optimizing a Teacher Professional Development Program for Solar Research
The solar project in "Teacher Leaders in Research-Based Science Education" program provides the opportunity for teachers to study the Sun with the world's largest solar telescope. This exciting program is designed for middle and high school science teachers with more than 5 years experience teaching science. Funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Teacher Retention and Renewal grant, teachers learn how to acquire astronomy data and support their students in conducting authentic astronomy research projects. In addition, the program enhances their skills as leaders and mentors for those science teachers new to the profession. The TLRBSE program includes: 1) A 14-week online distance learning program with an emphasis on spectroscopy and data imaging; 2) A 2-week in-residence workshop at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, including several nights of research observing at a world-class observatory; 3) A program of ongoing mentoring support for beginning teachers; and 4) Partial funding to attend a national NSTA meeting with the mentees; 5) A journal to publish student and teacher research results and 6) Access to ongoing research, via further observing runs or archival data. Various factors have played a part in the evolution of the solar project. It began as an activity that used sunspots to measure the solar rotation rate. Then it progressed to a comparison of active regions (e.g., the areas of sunspots) at various wavelengths, to measuring the splitting of infrared spectral lines due to strong magnetic fields in active regions, and to measuring the amount of polarization due to weak magnetic fields. Challenges were presented as the project evolved from an activity to a hands-on observing experience fully reflecting the scientific research process. Some of the issues and trade-offs we will discuss are hands-on observing experience vs. remote observing, archival data retrieval vs. talking data, and more vs. less scientific assistance in the project. Group dynamics among the teachers also played a significant role in determining the cohort's success in research. The move to accommodate a minimum in the solar cycle dictated a change in the scientific program. Cross-platform issues arose as the software reduction and analysis became more sophisticated. Future instrumentation and telescopes offered further changes in scientific goals. Factors beyond the preparation of the course and observing material, training of the teachers, maintaining the program and on-going support of the teachers will also be discussed. These aspects of the solar project will be highlighted as we continue to morph into an improved version of the project. The TLRBSE Program is funded by the National Science Foundation under ESI 0101982, funded through the AURA/NSF Cooperative Agreement AST-9613615. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Teacher and Student Research Using Large Data Sets
One of the objectives of teacher research experiences is to immerse the teacher in an authentic research situation to help the teacher understand what real research is all about: "to do science as scientists do." Experiences include doing experiments in laboratories, gathering data out in the field, and observing at professional observatories. However, a rapidly growing area of scientific research is in "data mining" increasingly large public data archives. In the earth and space sciences, such large archives are built around data from Landsat 7, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and in about seven years, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. The LSST will re-photograph the entire night sky every three day, resulting in a data flow of about 20 terabytes per night. The resulting LSST archive will represent a huge challenge of simple storage and retrieval for professional scientists. It will be a much greater challenge to help K-12 teachers use such gargantuan files and collections of data effectively in the classroom and to understand and begin to practice the new research procedures involved in data mining. At NOAO we are exploring ways of using large data sets in formal educational settings like classrooms, and public settings like planetariums and museums. In our existing professional development programs, such as our Teacher leaders in Research Based Science Education, we have introduced teachers to research via on-site observing experiences and partnerships with active astronomers. To successfully initiate research in the classroom, we have found that teachers need training in specific science content, use of specialized software to work with the data, development of research questions and objectives, and explicit pedagogical strategies for classroom use. Our research projects are well defined, though not "canned," and incorporate specific types of data, such as solar images. These data can be replaced with new data from an archive for the classroom research experience. This is already a form of data mining that can be applied to large data sets. We are looking at ways to apply our experience with hands-on observation experiences to the relatively abstract world of data mining. We are also looking at ways to move beyond the well-defined application to training teachers to develop their own more open-ended research activities. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc., under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Earth2Class Overview: An Innovative Program Linking Classroom Educators and Research Scientists
The Earth2Class (E2C) workshops, held at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), provide an effective model for improving knowledge, teaching, and technology skills of middle and high school science educators through ongoing interactions with research scientists and educational technology. With support from an NSF GeoEd grant, E2C has developed monthly workshops, web-based resources, and summer institutes in which classroom teachers and research scientists have produced exemplar curriculum materials about a wide variety of cutting-edge geoscience investigations suitable for dissemination to teachers and students. Some of the goals of this program are focused to address questions such as: (1) What aspects of the E2C format and educational technology most effectively connect research discoveries with classroom teachers and their students? (2) What benefits result through interactions among teachers from highly diverse districts and backgrounds with research scientists, and what benefits do the scientists gain from participation? (3) How can the E2C format serve as a model for other research institution-school district partnerships as a mechanism for broader dissemination of scientific discoveries? E2C workshops have linked LDEO scientists from diverse research specialties-seismology, marine geology, paleoclimatology, ocean drilling, dendrochronology, remote sensing, impact craters, and others-with teachers from schools in the New York metropolitan area. Through the workshops, we have trained teachers to enhance content knowledge in the Earth Sciences and develop skills to incorporate new technologies. We have made a special effort to increase the teaching competency of K-12 Earth Sciences educators serving in schools with high numbers of students from underrepresented groups, thereby providing greater role models to attract students into science and math careers. E2C sponsored Earth Science Teachers Conferences, bringing together educators from New York and New Jersey to consider challenges facing classroom teachers trying to incorporate recent research discoveries into the curriculum. Their efforts led to creating web-based resources that provide succinct statements of core concepts, essential vocabulary lists, selected labs, activities, and links to Internet sites providing scientific information that may not be incorporated into textbooks for years. The E2C web site (www.earth2class.org), has become an important resource for Earth Science educators. It provides an effective format for disseminating results of scientific research to teachers and students through a workshop section that includes an introduction, links to scientific discoveries, and suggestions for classroom applications. The educational resources section provides extensive curricular materials, including lesson plans, classroom activities, and links to state and national Science Education Standards. Overall, E2C seeks to make significant contributions to national efforts for creating networks of science researchers working with classroom teachers and teacher-trainers seeking effective methods for innovative instructional techniques, problem-solving strategies, and professional development, as well as meeting the challenges of state and national mandates.
School of Rock: An Ocean-going, Hands-on Research Expedition for Earth and Ocean Science Teachers
The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) - United States Implementing Organization (USIO) took advantage of a 16-day break between scientific operations to carry out a seagoing pilot educator workshop on board the JOIDES Resolution during a transit from Victoria, B.C., Canada, to Acapulco, Mexico. During this workshop, 10 educators from all across the United States were mentored and taught by scientists who are actively engaged in IODP research, the USIO Education Director, and staff. In addition, shipboard technical staff provided guidance and content related to hands-on laboratory activities. The pilot program provided the educators with an opportunity to participate in a seagoing experience on a scientific drilling research vessel and conduct a series of research activities similar to those that take place during regular scientific drilling expeditions. The workshop allowed educators to increase their knowledge of IODP and scientific methods as borne out through ocean drilling (proposals, drilling, lab analysis, data acquisition, postcruise activities) as well as knowledge of mid-ocean ridges, composition and structure of the oceanic crust, seafloor spreading, paleoceanography, paleomagnetism, and sedimentology. The workshop participants translated the scientific results into useful teaching resources by developing a suite of new discovery-based activities related to ocean drilling research that will undergo classroom testing by workshop participants. Over the school year the educators will help disseminate IODP science education by conducting at least two teacher workshops based on this seagoing experience, enhanced scientific knowledge gained from participating in the workshop, and the new activities developed en route.
PreService Teacher Course in Physical Oceanography
The next generation of Earth Science teachers requires enriched science content in their pre-service programs at the nation's universities. A pilot program with NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists developed a "proof of concept" program during Summer 2005 at California State University-Fresno. A Physical Oceanography course for grade 6-12 educators was team taught by a university professor, a veteran teacher, and three JPL scientists. This two week course included presentations on: i) oceanography using satellites; ii) unique software that is capable of finding and correlating ocean properties; and iii) the search for water on Mars. NASA satellite data were used extensively. The teachers also were exposed to web visualization tools such as PO.DAAC's Ocean ESIP Tool (POET) to teach the importance of ocean research.
From the Bottom of the Sea to the Center of the Classroom - REVEL Teacher Falicitates Authentic Student Research in the Classroom.
In 2000, as land-collaborator for REVEL teacher C. Maldonado while on an ocean-going research cruise, I got hooked by seafloor exploration, tectonic plate processes, and biological communities around hydrothermal vent systems. I decided then to bring deep-sea research to my classroom through participation in SEAS (Students Experiments at Sea) in 2003. But, to truly understand the scientific process, I needed to experience research myself. I was selected for the REVEL Project in 2004 and went to sea for a month to study hydrothermal plumes in the N.E. Pacific Ocean. While working with SEAS curriculum helped to introduce my students to authentic research, it wasn't until I experienced a research cruise and all the aspects of research on board that I felt confident enough to help my classes pursue and achieve the honor of sending their own experiments to sea. My 7th grade students wrote 2 proposals for the 2004 SEAS program. Neither proposal was chosen, but my students experienced the scientific process while collaborating with scientists as they wrote up results from experiments that had been implemented. The following year, my 9th grade class proposed to compare how water pressure at different depths affects various materials and different shapes. This proposal was selected and their experiment was deployed on the seafloor during an R/V Atlantis research cruise in April 2005. The material shapes (and controls) were exposed to increasing pressure at variable depths, including that of the seafloor. The results predicted by the students did not occur and the students submitted an "explanation article" explaining the possible reasons for the experiment failure and what they could better to prepare for a future deployment. Throughout the process students interacted with the scientists at sea. Despite the disappointing outcome of the experiment, it was a great learning experience for the class and an honor for all students to have their hard work validated by the deployment of their experiment on the seafloor. How many young people can say that they worked with scientists on research in such a remote environment as the bottom of the deep sea? I am currently at St. Joseph Catholic School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and I am excited about bringing deep ocean research to this land locked state! Many of my students have never even been to an ocean shore! As I did in Washington State, I will be introducing them to oceanography and show them a world they have never dreamed of. These students are excited at the possibility of doing authentic research in the remote, deep ocean! In addition, I will continue to share my research-based expertise in teaching and in science with colleagues that might not have had the opportunity to do scientific research. My REVEL experience will continue to feed my enthusiasm for learning, and will spread as I entrain teachers and students in Arkansas to follow research cruises via the Internet. Research-based education is a window to worlds never before experienced by and often inaccessible to my students. My practice of research has given me the confidence to bring new research opportunities into my classroom and to serve as facilitator for students' research. Last year, I took high school students to Kitt Peak, Arizona where they made solar observations. They wrote a college level research paper on the magnetic field strengths of sunspots. And their paper was published in spring 2005 in the Research Based Science Education journal.
NSF GK-12 Fellows as Mentors for K-12 Teachers Participating in Field Research Experiences
The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) recognizes the value of providing educational opportunities to K-12 teachers who play a critical role in shaping the minds of young people who are the future of our science. To that end, UTIG established the "Texas Teachers in the Field" program in 2000 to formalize the participation of K-12 teachers in field programs that included UTIG scientists. In 2002, "Texas Teachers in the Field" evolved through UTIG's involvement in a University of Texas at Austin GK-12 project led by the Environmental Sciences Institute, which enabled UTIG to partner a subset of GK-12 Fellows with teachers participating in geophysical field programs. During the three years of the GK-12 project, UTIG successfully partnered four GK-12 Fellows with five K-12 teachers. The Fellows served as mentors to the teachers, as liaisons between UTIG scientists leading field programs and teachers and their students, and as resources in science, mathematics, and technology instruction. Specifically, Fellows prepared teachers and their students for the field investigations, supervised the design of individual Teacher Research Experience (TRE) projects, and helped teachers to develop standards-aligned curriculum resources related to the field program for use in their own classrooms, as well as broader distribution. Although all but one TRE occurred during the school year, Texas school districts and principals were willing to release teachers to participate because the experience and destinations were so extraordinary (i.e., a land-based program in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; and research cruises to the Southeast Caribbean Sea and Hess Deep in the Pacific Ocean) and carried opportunities to work with scientists from around the world. This exceptional collaboration of GK-12 Fellows, K-12 teachers and research scientists enriches K-12 student learning and promotes greater enthusiasm for science. The level of mentoring, preparation and follow-Up provided by the GK-12 Fellows was important in helping teachers transfer components of a challenging field research experience to their students. Participating research scientists were able to convey the importance of their science to a wider audience. NSF GK-12 Fellows gained valuable experience in communicating scientific knowledge and field skills to K-12 teachers and students, became more knowledgeable about K-12 science education and were exposed to advances in pedagogy.
Transferring Knowledge Gained From a Field Experience in Tierra del Fuego, the Uttermost Part of the Earth, to Central Texas Science Classrooms
As part of the UTIG's Teachers in the Field program, we, three teachers from Boerne High School in south-central Texas, and four of our students, collaborated with an international team of geoscientists studying the tectonic and climatic evolution of the Lago Fagnano region in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, in March 2005. This unique field experience allowed us to participate in all aspects of the scientific process: the consideration of research questions, development of a research plan, collection of field data and observations, and synthesis and presentation of results. In addition to field work and reconnaissance tied directly to the project objectives, we characterized the modern chemical/physical soil and water parameters (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, NH4 content, etc.) and isotopic (18O and D) composition of the Lago Fagnano watershed. These data are now integrated into an existing database of comparable chemical/physical information gathered for North American sites through our summer field courses. We will utilize this rich data set to make Texas-Tierra del Fuego ecosystem comparisons with our classes. The level of mentoring, preparation and follow-Up provided by an NSF GK-12 Fellow was a key factor contributing to the success of our experience and an important element in helping us transfer components of this challenging experience to our students. Before, during, and following a two-week field season at Lago Fagnano, we and our students were actively engaged as learners and as scientists. We acquired concepts and skills that are readily applicable in a classroom setting: geologic mapping, GIS applications, isotopic data collection and analysis, tectonics concepts, and a general understanding of how science is truly conducted. Other factors that contributed to a positive experience included the team of dynamic scientists, who encouraged, helped and inspired us, the strong support that we received from our high school campus and district level administrators, and the direct connection to the classroom provided by the inclusion of some students in the field program. Immersing teachers in a dynamic scientific research environment should be an essential component of professional development if we are to inspire the scientists of tomorrow and promote science education reform. Such experiences expand teachers' knowledge base, boost confidence and provide insight into the collaborative, cross-disciplinary nature of science. Many of our colleagues, as well as friends and parents in the Boerne community, were surprised that high school teachers could do this, and they wanted to know how they could become involved in the future. It is sometimes said: Those that can do; those that can't, teach. By getting high school students and teachers involved with ongoing field studies, this perspective can be altered. The new paradigm: I Can, I Have, I Teach! Public school district leaders (i.e., superintendents and curriculum directors) should be cognizant of, and encouraged to support teacher participation in, similar experiential programs.
Assessment of the CATTS Students Across Borders Program: Implications for other GK-12 Programs
The Collaboration for the Advancement of Teaching Technology and Science (CATTS) is a Track 2 GK-12 program based at the University of Arizona which partners with local school districts to improve science, mathematics and technology teaching at all levels. The partnership provides students selected for the CATTS program a prestigious NSF Graduate Teaching Fellowship in K-12 Education to work with K-12 teachers as resource agents. The goals of the CATTS program are to establish sustainable partnerships with K-12 educators that integrate science, mathematics, engineering and technology research into classroom learning experiences, to create opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to be active participants in K-12 education, and to foster effective teaching and a greater understanding of learning at all levels. One project within the CATTS program is the Students Across Borders (SAB) program. SAB, established in 2002, welcomes Hispanic and other minority high school students in their sophomore and junior years to the University of Arizona campus for a week-long, summer workshop in the natural sciences. The program is designed to nurture the Earth science interests of these students and to mentor them through the college application process. The vision of SAB is to empower students to change their fortunes by guiding them through borders that often separate them from success in higher education and careers in science. As a second component of the program, SAB sends graduate and undergraduate students (CATTS fellows) from the University into local high schools during the school year following the summer workshop to work directly with participating educators in the classroom environment. For three years, SAB has proven successful in both components of the program, as evidenced by the success of SAB alumni entering college and by the enthusiasm and continued involvement of educators in accepting fellows into their classrooms. Numerous lessons and student science fair projects have directly resulted from the CATTS/SAB presence in the classroom. However, maintaining links between goals of the summer workshop and the goals in the classroom continues to be a challenge. This poster examines the design and implementation of the SAB program, including fellows' transition from workshop to classroom, and attempts to identify areas where the linkages between the two components of the program can be strengthened. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses of the SAB program are assessed using follow-Up interviews with participants and past Fellows and educators. These assessments strengthen the SAB project and the CATTS program, in general. These assessment findings have wide applicability to other educational GK-12 preparation workshops. This program is sponsored by the National Science Foundations 's Track 2 GK-12 program under grant DGE0228247.
Teacher's Guide to Modern Geography Project
The Association of American Geographers is currently developing a Teacher's Guide to Modern Geography (TGMG), funded by FIPSE in the US Department of Education. The primary aim of the teacher's guide is to improve the preparation of teachers in the pre-service state of the teacher professional continuum (including student teaching), when very few teachers actually major in geography. TGMG uses real-world issues to integrate content and skills in geography, math, science, and other subjects, with explicit connections to state standards across the curriculum. The TGMG project is producing a variety of print and digital materials for pre-service and in-service teacher preparation programs. For example, a multimedia CD with animated instructional units that deal with the analytical skills in the National Geography Standards, such as measuring direction, distance, slope, and density; analyzing map patterns and making rigorous map comparisons; formulating and testing hypotheses; identifying exceptions to patterns predicted by hypotheses; and buffering, overlaying, windowing, and other methods of spatial analysis. To evaluate the effectiveness of the materials, a spatial skills test has been developed and tested.
ERESE Professional Development in Science Education: A collaboration of scientists, teachers, and information technologists
The Enduring Resources in Earth Science Education (ERESE) project promotes inquiry based teaching of plate tectonics through professional development and distribution of digital library objects in the National Science Digital Library network. The overall ERESE goal is to bridge the gap between the scientists and educators, and our experience has shown that much can be gained by establishing a close collaboration between all parties involved in earth science education, from high school student to teacher -educator, and scientist. These collaborations yield substantial gains in terms of effective educational approaches, contents selection, and to produce an authentic class room research experience. ERESE professional development workshops promote a model of inquiry-based teaching that keeps the educator as far in the background as possible, while empowering the student to carry out a maximally independent inquiry. Key components in this process are: (1) use of a well selected provocative phenomenon to promote student's curiosity and to start the inquiry process, (2) care in the student guidance towards selection and formulation of a researchable question, (3) the involvement of teachers and scientists, in a close collaboration (4) teaching resource development with a strong feed-back from professional development workshops and classroom practice, (5) integration of science inquiry resources on all expert levels providing an environment that allows continuous access to science information from the most basic to the full scale science level. We expanded ERESE resource development into a volcanology field class on Hawaii to produce a website and digital library contents including field reports, exercises and images and field data. We further expanded our resource development through the participation of three high school students in a three-week seagoing expedition to the Samoan Archipelago. The high school seniors maintained a live expedition website and they participated in all science activities. Their work impacted ERESE by the development of digital resources, and introducing peer - mentoring into the inquiry process.
Professional Development at ERESE: Refining the inquiry process and moving towards a modularized templeate
The Enduring Resources for Earth Science Education (ERESE) project has now held two professional development workshops to teach and apply the five stage inquiry lesson model for teaching plate tectonics. This development based on a collaborative effort between earth scientists, educators, librarians, and data archive managers, and works towards a classroom practice that focuses on transferring ownership of a classroom inquiry to the learner. The ERESE inquiry model features a modular, five stage approach: (1) a thoughtful orientation to create an environment of physical and intellectual safety for the learner, (2) a carefully chosen provocative phenomenon used to allow the learner to develop a wide range of scientific questions (3) a debriefing that reviews and honors the learners' questions along with the development of a testable hypothesis, (4) learners consult with ERESE resource matrices and the internet to obtain data and other information to test the hypothesis, and (5) the learners present their results in a presentation. The process of ERESE inquiry lessons is guided by a master template and involves a detailed teachers log for documentation of all activities. All products of the process are archived. The master template and teachers log are designed in a modular fashion that ultimately will accommodate a wide range of inquiry lesson styles and the variety of resources available to support the process. Key ERESE modules include: (1) a master template that provides a framework for lesson development, (2) provocative phenomenon for question generation and hypothesis development by the learner, (3) the ERESE resource matrix (which archives text, images and data by expert level for a wide range of scientific questions), and (4) a reflective essay that monitors the ownership transfer to the learner. Modular design of ERESE products allows for the archival of specific types of materials that can be independently accessed and applied to different inquiry styles. The broad appeal is an important step toward a more general product for inquiry based teaching.
The ERESE Workshop: a Unique Opportunity for Collaboration Between Classroom Teacher and Research Scientist
The ERESE Project (Enduring Resources for Earth Science Education) has hosted 10-15 teachers during a two-week workshop at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) each of the last two summers. The workshop is a concentrated introduction to the resources available on two National Science Digital Library collections maintained at SIO - http://www.EarthRef.org and http://www.SIOExplorer.ucsd.edu. The workshop is run by a team of scientists from SIO, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and a Lead Educator who is also a classroom teacher. This year three teachers from the first year were invited to return to serve as mentors. During the first week of the workshop teachers play the role of student while a lead scientist plays the role of teacher. The students (aka, teachers) analyze maps of seafloor magnetic anomalies to investigate plate tectonic problems. The magnetic data were collected onboard Scripps ships and are archived at SIOExplorer.ucsd.edu. Technical content lessons were designed to introduce the resource matrices on EarthRef.org, how to upload and download classroom lessons within the collection, SIOExplorer's CruiseViewer (portal to over 600 archived cruises) and Mozilla Browser and Composer for building lessons using our inquiry template. The inquiry lesson templates model scientific inquiry and help to streamline lesson design, enactment and sharing. They reference local, state and national standards in order to increase their appeal to a broad audience. The most valuable feature of hosting an on-campus workshop was that participants were afforded the opportunity to collaborate with scientists and research staff on a daily basis. More than 15 guest speakers addressed the teachers, some of whom led guided tours of their respective research facilities and collections. Guest speakers shared data, lecture notes and engaging "sea stories" all of which painted a picture of life as a research earth scientist. Combining their workshop experience in the role of student, the technical content lessons, the inquiry based pedagogical model and daily collaboration with scientists, the teachers developed plate tectonic lessons using resources from EarthRef.org and SIOExplorer.ucsd.edu. Following implementation during the fall semester teachers will add them to the existing collection of lessons at EarthRef.org.
Three High-Tech High Seniors Join the Alia Expedition to Samoa: Science and Science Education
Three high school seniors from High Tech High (HTH) participated in the ALIA expedition that explored the Samoan hot spot track through seafloor mapping, rock sampling and the study of the water column above an active submarine volcano. The primary responsibility of the HTH participants focused on outreach and education, but they also were substantively involved in all scientific aspects of the cruise. Education and outreach activities included: maintaining the cruise website,the creation of ERESE digital library resources for earth science education, live video-conferences with students half a world away in San Diego, and offering tours of the Research Vessel Kilo Moana during an open house event organized with the Samoa Department of Eduation. At this occasion, the HTH seniors shared experiences and knowledge with the visiting Samoan elementary and high school students. Science involvement of the high school seniors included deck and laboratory work, by assisting with dredging, piston coring, rock cataloguing, casting CTDs, and computer programming. Three major computer programming efforts by the HTH seniors substantively supported the outreach activities and the science operations during ALIA. (1) The development of "CustomHTMLExport", a utility that allows for the export of photographs and their metadata into web pages and digital library collection. (2) The "CruiseWatch" featureson the ALIA website (http://earthref.org/ERESE/projects/ALIA/) that displays in near - real time key shipboard data such as the location on a map, geographic coordinates, ship speed, direction and wind speed and dredging data. (3) A dredge location simulator to predict the location of the dredge with respect to the ship and the seafloor which was made necessary for the safety of dredging due to the failure of pingers that normally are used to provide critical data for the location of the dredge with respect to the seafloor. The dredge location model is based a fluid dynamics approach and on a wide range of parameters that range from the bathymetry to the drag on the wire in the water. The latter was determined empirically from the wire angle during dynamic ship/winch operations. This model proved to be highly accurate, Our involvement with the ALIA expedition gave us some exciting perspectives on how scientific research is conducted at sea and the pleasure of having actually contributed to the expedition in terms of its science and outreach and education aspects. Our learning and science activities were shared with our peers at High Tech High as well as.
High Seas High Schoolers: Creating ERESE Content on an Expedition to Samoa
As part of the ERESE program, three high school seniors aboard the ALIA expedition generated contents and published a live trip website with a wide range of information about the science and personal aspects of the cruise. These activities served to relate as much meaningful information about the month-long research cruise in the South Pacific as possible, to people of all ages and skills. The website http://earthref.org/ERESE/projects/ALIA/ has reports on almost every aspect of the research cruise; from what it is like staying on the Research Vessel Kilo Moana for a month, to operating machinery, to interviews with the captain and chief scientists, and even how the equipment aboard works, in less than technical terms. An effective way to relay what was actually going on aboard the Kilo Moana, were the daily reports, written by the high school students, complete with the pictures and videos taken that day. This website connected the ALIA cruise to high school students and classrooms, who were following the expedition through the website both in the United States and in Samoa. High school seniors designed and implemented the "CruiseWatch" feature on the Alia website. This "applet" extracts data from the shipboard datastream and relays them to the ERESE website at the San Diego Supercomputing center via satellite, where they are prepared for real-time display on the cruise website. Data displayed include the ships' location on the map, geographic coordinates, heading, speed and wind speed. During dredging operations it displays the length of wire deployed, wire speed and wire tension. Overall the website with the daily reports and photographs, in addition to other web media, gave this trip a unique ability to engage people from around the world in researching oceanographic and geological phenomena.
The ERESE Project: Involving Teachers in the Online Generation and QA/QC of Enduring Teaching Resources
The ERESE project has as its main goal to create, archive and make available "Enduring Resources in Earth Science Education" through a collaboration between teachers, scientists, librarians and information technology (IT) professionals. Over the last two years of this National Science Digital Library (NSDL) project, we have developed such ERESE resources for middle and high school teachers for use in lesson plans with "plate tectonics" and "magnetics" as their main theme. An IT environment has been developed under http://earthref.org/ERESE where researchers, teachers and students can search for and download these resources from the EarthRef.org Digital Archive (ERDA) that now contains more than 600 objects. They do this by searching for researchable questions or by browsing a "Resource Matrix" where the objects (i.e. data files) are displayed based on content (image, data or text) and expert level (1 to 9). Good examples out of the 52 predefined resource matrices are the ones on "Seafloor Spreading", "The Earth's Magnetic Field" and "Hotspots and Absolute Plate Motion". Researchers, teachers and students are encouraged to upload their own contributions in the ERDA online archive, allowing them to share research and teaching materials with their peers and beyond. These uploads can be linked with one or more resource matrices and assigned an expert level. To streamline this uploading process, we have formed a core group of resource developers (students and teachers) that generate new ERESE objects which are subject to an extensive QA/QC (Quality Assessment and Quality Control) protocol by their peers (students and teachers) and by a team of researchers. The peer-to-peer reviews ensure equality and quality amongst the various ERESE resources, whereas the science reviews screen for content correctness and scientific scholarship. The overall goal of this protocol is to ensure digital longevity and scientific validity, while the involvement of teachers and students is critical to making these resources more useful in the class room. Since the QA/QC protocol is entirely online, we are able to scale this effort to a broad, nationally relevant audience.
Metadata Exporter for Scientific Photography Management
Photographs have become an increasingly important medium, especially with the advent of digital cameras. It has become inexpensive to take photographs and quickly post them on a website. However informative photos may be, they still need to be displayed in a convenient way, and be cataloged in such a manner that makes them easily locatable. Managing the great number of photographs that digital cameras allow and creating a format for efficient dissemination of the information related to the photos is a tedious task. Products such as Apple's iPhoto have greatly eased the task of managing photographs, However, they often have limitations. Un-customizable metadata fields and poor metadata extraction tools limit their scientific usefulness. A solution to this persistent problem is a customizable metadata exporter. On the ALIA expedition, we successfully managed the thousands of digital photos we took. We did this with iPhoto and a version of the exporter that is now available to the public under the name "CustomHTMLExport" (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/27777), currently undergoing formal beta testing This software allows the use of customized metadata fields (including description, time, date, GPS data, etc.), which is exported along with the photo. It can also produce webpages with this data straight from iPhoto, in a much more flexible way than is already allowed. With this tool it becomes very easy to manage and distribute scientific photos.