Education and Human Resources [ED]

ED21B MCC:3022 Tuesday

Teacher Professional Development Programs Promoting Authentic Scientific Research in the Classroom I

Presiding: S K Croft, National Optical Astronomy Observatory; V Robigou, University of Washington


Preliminary Report from the 2005 Conference on Teacher Research Experiences

* SCOWCROFT, G A ( , University of Rhode Island, South Ferry Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882
Knowlton, C ( , University of Rhode Island, South Ferry Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

There is a clearly expressed need from the field for a coordination of efforts and a sharing of best practices among institutions and projects providing teacher research experiences for K-12 science educators. To address these needs, over 100 participants from 30 Teacher Research Experience (TRE) Projects met at the University of Rhode Island in April 2005 to participate in the Conference on Teacher Research Experiences (CTRE). Three member teams from each project included principle investigators, project directors and evaluators, teachers, scientists, and other professionals engaged in TREs. The CTRE goals were to: 1.) initiate a community of professionals that engage in TREs; 2.) build a foundation of best practices for TREs; 3.) work toward standardizing teacher mentoring activities; 4.) establish connections and collaborations between projects; 5.) provide opportunities for meeting individual project challenges. This presentation will discuss conference results as well as highlight data collected from the participating projects describing project design elements, successes, and needs. There are common experiences shared by those participating in TREs that help to build an informed and supportive professional community.


A Science Teacher Experience in the Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami Offshore Survey Expedition of May 2005

* Moran, K ( , Graduate School of Oceanography and Department of Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882 United States
Holt, S ( , Arcadia High School, 4703 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018 United States
Grilli, S ( , Department of Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882 United States

Through the NSF-funded ARMADA Project, K-12 teachers can participate in scientific expeditions to gain a first-hand, and usually exciting, research experience. ARMADA Master Teachers decode this research opportunity that includes data collection and experimentation, into methodology development, and technology for use in their classrooms. Their experiences have broader impact because each teacher mentors other teachers in their school district and directly participates in the National Science Teachers Association Annual Convention to share the knowledge to an even broader educational audience. A science teacher, Susan Holt (from Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona) participated as part of an international scientific party on a recent cruise to study the seafloor in the area of the December 26th Great Sumatra earthquake and tsunami-the Sumatra Earthquake And Tsunami Offshore Survey (SEATOS). She participated in all aspects of the expedition: geophysical surveys, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) "watch", sample preparation and recovery, science planning and review meetings, and by interacting with the expert ship's crew. Susan posted reports regularly on a website and prepared a daily log that that was useful not only for her students, but also for other teachers in the Scottsdale Unified School District in Arizona and the Montgomery County School District in Tennessee, science team members' families, friends, and local press. Overall, the experience benefited all parties: the teacher by learning and experiencing a shipboard geophysical operation; the scientists by Susan's fresh perspective that encouraged everyone to re-examine their first assumptions and interpretations; the SEATOS expedition by Susan's assistance in science operations; and the shipboard environment where she was able to break down the typical artificial barriers between the science 'crew' and the ship's crew through frank and open dialogue. We present a summary of the SEATOS expedition, the teacher and mentor's roles, examples of Susan's activities on the cruise, and anticipated outcomes.


Impact of the REVEL Project: How Do Science Teachers Change by Doing Cutting-Edge Oceanographic Research?

Windschitl, M A ( , University of Washington, College of Education, Box 353600, Seattle, WA 98195-3600 United States
* Robigou, V ( , University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Box 357940, Seattle, WA 98195-7940 United States

The REVEL Project (Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration and Life) is an NSF-funded, professional and personal development program for K-12 science teachers. REVEL teachers are motivated to use genuine, deep-sea research and seafloor exploration as tools to implement inquiry-based science in their classrooms, schools, and districts, and to share their experiences with their communities. Initiated in 1996 as a regional program for Northwest science educators, REVEL evolved into a multi-institutional program inviting teachers to practice doing research on sea-going research expeditions. Today the project offers teachers throughout the U.S. an opportunity to participate and contribute to multidisciplinary, deep-sea research in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. From the past two years of this program we have conducted intensive research and evaluation of the teachers themselves. Among our key findings: 1) The research experience provided participants with deep content knowledge and the skills not only to do inquiry with students in their classrooms, but to give students ownership over the process of asking and answering their own questions, 2) Participants understood scientists to be resourceful and flexible in their thinking. Participants carried these observations back to their classrooms, encouraging students to believe that they can "be scientists" by overcoming set-backs and complications in doing investigative work, and 3) Most participants shifted their identities from "just a teacher" to "a teacher who does science." Their students, colleagues, and community members looked upon them differently. They also acquire a different status with their peers. We advocate for more rigorous investigations to be conducted on research-partnership professional development programs, specifically on how they influence the thinking, identity, and eventual pedagogy of educators. The body of research available on teacher professional development is extensive but the impact of high-tech, high-communication, fast-paced, collaborative, cutting-edge research on teachers' ability to transfer today's scientific process to students and how this might spark students' interest in science or improve their confidence or their reasoning skills are poorly understood.


Research at Sea: A Program for Teachers in Using Observations to Develop Research Questions

* Schell, J ( , Sea Education Association, P.O. Box 6, Woods Hole, MA 02543 United States
Joyce, P ( , Sea Education Association, P.O. Box 6, Woods Hole, MA 02543 United States
Harcourt, P ( , Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, PO Box 3092, 149 Waquoit Highway, Waquoit, MA 02536 United States

Research at Sea was a five-year, NSF-funded teacher development program at the Sea Education Association (SEA) held from 1999 to 2004. The goals for the program were: 1) to provide middle school and high school science teachers with a genuine research experience in oceanography, 2) to instill teacher confidence in using inquiry-based science in their own classrooms, and 3) to provide necessary practical and content knowledge within an oceanography research context. This was achieved in a six-week summer program that included three weeks of classroom and field-based instruction in oceanography and curriculum development at the Woods Hole, MA campus, two weeks conducting research onboard SEA's oceanographic research vessel, SSV {\it Corwith Cramer}, and one week of data analysis and summation onshore following the cruise. The curriculum design and associated research activities implemented in 2004 represent the culmination of four years of experience and course evaluation. In addition to achieving the goals outlined above, the curriculum emphasized development of observational skills and learning to formulate and evaluate research questions -- necessary skills in the scientific process. Important curriculum features included: 1) discussion and evaluation of potential research questions, 2) establishing a link between observations and research questions, and 3) providing multiple field-based research experiences, onshore and at sea. These approaches resulted in increasingly complex research questions, more effective sampling designs, and improved understanding of how data are collected and then used to test oceanographic principles. This presentation will summarize the fundamental components of the 2004 Research at Sea curriculum, the research that teachers carried out, and the types of observations and resulting evolution of teacher questions that led to the successful completion of independent oceanographic research projects.


Across the Arctic Teachers Experience Field Research

Warnick, W K ( , Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK 99709 United States
* Warburton, J ( , Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK 99709 United States
Wiggins, H V ( , Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK 99709 United States
Marshall, S A ( , King's Fork High School, 351 King's Fork Road, Suffolk, VA 23434 United States
Darby, D A ( , Dept. of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric, Old Dominion Univ., 4600 Elkhorn Ave., Norfolk, VA 23529 United States

From studying snow geese on the North Slope of Alaska to sediment coring aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic Ocean, K-12 teachers embark on scientific expeditions as part of a program that strives to make science in the Arctic a "virtual" reality. In the past two years, seventeen K-12 teachers have participated in Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating (TREC), a program that pairs teachers with researchers to improve science education through arctic field experiences. TREC builds on the scientific and cultural opportunities of the Arctic, linking research and education through topics that naturally engage students and the wider public. TREC includes expeditions as diverse as studying plants at Toolik Field Station, a research facility located 150 miles above the Arctic Circle; climate change studies in Norway's Svalbard archipelago; studying rivers in Siberia; or a trans-arctic expedition aboard the USCGC Healy collecting an integrated geophysical data set. Funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, TREC offers educators experiences in scientific inquiry while encouraging the public and students to become active participants in the scientific inquiry by engaging them virtually in arctic research. TREC uses online outreach elements to convey the research experience to a broad audience. While in remote field locations, teachers and researchers interact with students and the public through online seminars and live calls from the field, online journals with accompanying photos, and online bulletin boards. Since the program's inception in 2004, numerous visitors have posted questions or interacted with teachers, researchers, and students through the TREC website ( TREC teachers are required to transfer their experience of research and current science into their classroom through the development of relevant activities and resources. Teachers and researchers are encouraged to participate in the Connecting Arctic/Antarctic Researcher and Educators (CARE) Network. CARE, established to help foster ongoing discussions about science content and educational approaches, uses a combination of conference calls and online interactive software for document sharing and discussion. Teacher and researchers pairs are also encouraged to continue developing their collaborative partnership on an individual basis. This presentation will provide an overview of TREC with co-presentations by a TREC teacher and researcher. The presentation highlights the effectiveness and value of pairing virtual learning with real-time research experiences.


The Influence of a Teacher Research Experience on Elementary Teachers' Thinking and Instruction

* Dixon, P J ( , Florida State University/National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 E. Paul Dirac Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32312 United States

Creating opportunities for elementary teachers to develop knowledge of effective science teaching is an important goal of educators (NRC, 1996). Often unrecognized for their role in science education, elementary teachers may be responsible for delivering more hours of science instruction than high school teachers. However, previous research indicates that elementary teachers' content preparation in science is often inadequate (Tolman & Campbell, 1991). Moreover, unlike undergraduate science majors and secondary science teachers, elementary teachers are rarely given the opportunity to work with scientists in conducting science. In order to address these deficiencies in the preparation of elementary teachers, several forms of professional development have been explored by educators. These have included programs that focused on elementary teachers' analysis of video cases (Tippins, Nichols, & Dana, 1999), and collaborative inquiry (van Zee, Lay, & Roberts, 2003). However, few have examined the impact of the research experience model on elementary teachers' thinking and instruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether and how elementary teachers' thinking and instruction changed as a result of a teacher research experience. Four elementary teachers participated in a six week professional development program designed to promote changes in scientific thinking and instructional practices. Each teacher worked with a scientist conducting research and collaborated with other teachers in translating their experiences into lessons. Data in the form of classroom observations and interviews were collected both before and after the research experience. Document analysis was also conducted on laboratory notebooks, reflective journals, and lesson plans that were collected during the research experience. Discussed are the specific changes to thinking and instruction that resulted from the research experience and how such changes differed between beginning and experienced elementary teachers.


Program Qualities That Make a Field Research Experience Valuable to Classroom Teachers

* Beckendorf, K ( , Blanco Middle School, 814 Eleventh St., Blanco, TX 78606 United States
Hammond, J ( , NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations NOAA Teacher at Sea Program, 1315 East-West Highway SSMC3, 12739, Silver Springs, MD 20910-3282 United States
McMahon, E ( , NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations NOAA Teacher at Sea Program , 1315 East-West Highway SSMC3, 12738 , Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282 United States
Williams, E ( , Aeronomy Lab/NOAA, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305 United States
Williams, E ( , CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 United States
Bates, T ( , Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory/NOAA, 7600 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 United States

Numerous programs exists that pair K-12 teachers with scientists for summer research projects, and, overall, these programs are quite beneficial in a variety of ways. Some benefits of these programs to the teacher include providing real-world experiences that can be turned into classroom lessons, increasing the science teacher's own level of knowledge, and helping to reignite the teacher's enthusiasm for teaching. However, teacher research programs are not all created equal. Indeed, a vast gap exists between what a middle school science teacher experiences in his or her classroom and what a teacher experiences among a group of PhD researchers for a few weeks. To be effective, a teacher research program must bridge this gap. During my 14 years of teaching middle school science, I have participated in a number of authentic research experiences. Some of these include NOAA's Teacher at Sea (NEAQS/ICARTT), Teacher in the Woods (Portland State University- Andrew's Experimental Forest), and Teacher on Summer Assignment (Oregon Forest Resource Institute- Ochoco National Forest). During these programs and others, I have encountered various approaches to my preparation, support, and partnering, some of which were quite effective at helping me bridge the gap between the field and the classroom, and others which were less effective at doing so. As a middle school science teacher I have three goals. First, I want to teach in such a way that my students become curious and want to learn more about science. Secondly, I want to help students discover how to learn and process information in the manner that best suites their learning styles. Finally, I want to give students a strong science foundation on which to build future learning. Additionally, I must meet certain state, federal and local standards in my teaching of the sciences. Through my participation in teacher research programs, I have learned that certain aspects of these programs have been more effective than others in helping me bridge the gap between meeting these teaching goals in a middle school science classroom and being able to truly utilize, in the classroom, what I learn in these research programs. Thus, by highlighting these aspects I hope to aid in the ongoing improvement of these teacher research programs.


Georgia Teachers in Academic Laboratories: Research Experiences in the Geosciences

* Barrett, D ( , Georgia Institute of Technology, CEISMC 760 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30308 United States

The Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) is a collaborative effort designed to enhance mathematics and science experiences of Georgia teachers and their students through summer research internships for teachers. By offering business, industry, public science institute and research summer fellowships to teachers, GIFT provides educators with first-hand exposure to the skills and knowledge necessary for the preparation of our future workforce. Since 1991, GIFT has placed middle and high school mathematics, science and technology teachers in over 1000 positions throughout the state. In these fellowships, teachers are involved in cutting edge scientific and engineering research, data analysis, curriculum development and real-world inquiry and problem solving, and create Action Plans to assist them in translating the experience into changed classroom practice. Since 2004, an increasing number of high school students have worked with their teachers in research laboratories. The GIFT program places an average of 75 teachers per summer into internship positions. In the summer of 2005, 83 teachers worked in corporate and research environments throughout the state of Georgia and six of these positions involved authentic research in geoscience related departments at the Georgia Institute of Technology, including aerospace engineering and the earth and atmospheric sciences laboratories. This presentation will review the history and the structure of the program including the support system for teachers and mentors as well as the emphasis on inquiry based learning strategies. The focus of the presentation will be a comparison of two placement models of the teachers placed in geoscience research laboratories: middle school earth science teachers placed in a 6 week research experience and high school teachers placed in 7 week internships with teams of 3 high school students. The presentation will include interviews with faculty to determine the value of these experiences to the scientific community and interviews/classroom observations of teachers to determine the transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the students through the implementation of their Action Plans into their classroom.