AN: ED53A-0525 Poster
TI: Master of Science Teaching: Encouraging Teachers and their Students in Research
AU: *Reiff, P H
AF: Rice Space Institute, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
The Master of Science Teaching program is designed to encourage more content knowledge among teachers. Thirty credit hours are required, chosen from 12 hours of Earth science courses, 12 hours of space science courses, a chemistry course, a math course, and research or education credits. A thesis is not required but each teacher must have a special project (either research or curriculum). A number of students chose as their project using ground penetrating radar to look for buried graves in an African-American cemetery. Others became Heliospheric Ambassadors, Messenger Ambassadors, or PolarTrec teachers. Nineteen teachers have graduated as of 2010 with six presently in the program. A survey of the participants has fifteen responses so far, with a good mixture of responses from early in the program to present students. Many (69%) were grade 6-8 teachers when they entered the program. After earning their MST, many had increased their teaching level: (93% reported that it helped their career path, 39% have upgraded to administration or science supervision, and 53% reported receiving a better or higher level job position as a result). Only one student no longer teaches (completing a PhD in Administration). Given that 20% of the respondents are still in the program, two thirds of the alumni (8 of 12) have earned better jobs. All respondents said that they learned from both the Earth and space science courses, and all respondents (except the person no longer in the classroom) say they use the earth and space science material in the classrooms, with 80% "frequently" and 13% "sometimes". They also report that they are more likely to encourage their students to become scientists (80%), more likely to encourage their students to support NASA (93%), and think that their students are getting better scores on the state standardized tests (60%). It is certainly not easy for teachers to perform publishable research (although some have), and it is even more difficult for students to perform authentic research. However, by being exposed to science data and techniques in the program, teachers become more confident of their skills and more comfortable encouraging their students to learn more. Of the respondents, 100% recommend the program to their peers, with 80% "enthusiastically".
MST teacher tracing sunspot locations.
DE:  EDUCATION / Teaching methods
DE:  EDUCATION / Teacher training
DE:  EDUCATION / Evaluation and assessment
SC: Education and Human Resources (ED)
MN: 2010 Fall Meeting