Education and Human Resources [ED]

ED22A MCC:3022 Tuesday

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

Presiding: C E Walker, National Optical Astronomy Observatory; G Scowcroft, University of Rhode Island


Research Experiences for Science Teachers: The Impact On Their Students

* Dubner, J (

Deficiencies in science preparedness of United States high school students were recognized more than two decades ago, as were some of their underlying causes. Among the primary causes are the remoteness of the language, tools, and concepts of science from the daily experiences of teachers and students, and the long-standing national shortage of appropriately prepared science teachers. Secondary school science teachers are challenged each school year by constantly changing content, new technologies, and increasing demands for standards-based instruction. A major deficiency in the education of science teachers was their lack of experience with the practice of science, and with practicing scientists. Providing teachers with opportunities to gain hands-on experience with the tools and materials of science under the guidance and mentorship of leading scientists in an environment attuned to professional development, would have many beneficial effects. They would improve teachers' understanding of science and their ability to develop and lead inquiry- and standards-based science classes and laboratories. They would enable them to communicate the vitality and dynamism of science to their students and to other teachers. They would enhance their ability to motivate and guide students. From its inception, Columbia University's Summer Research Program for Science Teacher's goal has been to enhance interest and improve performance in science of students in New York City area schools. The program seeks to achieve this goal by increasing the professional competence of teachers. Our ongoing program evaluation shows that following completion of the program, the teachers implement more inquiry-based classroom and laboratory exercises, increase utilization of Internet resources, motivate students to participate in after school science clubs and Intel-type science projects; and create opportunities for students to investigate an area of science in greater depth and for longer periods of time than more conventionally trained teachers. Most importantly, the performance of their students improves; students of participating teachers have a higher pass rate on New York State Science Regents examinations than students in classes of non-participating teachers in the same schools. Student outcomes data will be presented for both Columbia's program and from a multi-site study, which Columbia's program headed up.


Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students

* Daou, D ( , Spitzer Science Center Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology, Caltech -- MS : 220-06, Pasadena, CA 91125 United States

The Spitzer Science Center (SSC) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) have designed a program for teacher and student research using observing time on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The participating teachers attended a fall, 2004 workshop to become familiar with the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) archives, and to receive training in infrared astronomy and observational techniques. The teachers also attended a workshop offered by the SSC to learn about the observation planning process, and telescope and instrument capabilities. This program has as its goals the fundamental NASA goals of inspiring and motivating students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as to engage the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery. Our educational plan addresses the NASA objectives of improving student proficiency in science and improving science instruction by providing a unique opportunity to a group of teachers and students to observe with the Spitzer Space Telescope and work on their data with SSC and NOAO scientists. This program allows a team of 12 teachers and their students to utilize up to 3.5 hours of Director's discretionary observing time on the Spitzer Space Telescope for educational observations. Leveraging on a well-established teacher professional development, the SSC is offering this program to teachers in the Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science Education (TLRRBSE), an ongoing program at the NOAO. This NSF-sponsored program touches the formal education community through a national audience of well-trained and supported middle and high school teachers.


Evolution of a Teacher Professional Development Program that Promotes Teacher and Student Research

* Pompea, S M ( , National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
Croft, S K ( , National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
Garmany, C D ( , National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719 United States
Walker, C E ( , National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719 United States

The Research Based Science Education (RBSE) and Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science (TLRBSE) programs at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory have been evolving for nearly ten years. Our current program is actually a team of programs aiding teachers in doing research with small telescopes, large research-grade telescopes, astronomical data archives, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Along the way, as these programs evolved, a number of basic questions were continuously discussed by the very talented program team. These questions included: 1) What is real research and why should we encourage it? 2) How can it be successfully brought to the classroom? 3) What is the relative importance of teacher content knowledge versus science process knowledge? 4) How frustrating should an authentic research experience be? 5) How do we measure the success of our professional development program? 6) How should be evaluate and publish student work? 7) How can teachers work together on a team to pursue research? 8) What is the model for interaction of teachers and researchers - equal partners versus the graduate student/apprentice model? 9) What is the ideal mix of skills for a professional development team at NOAO? 10) What role can distance learning play in professional preparation? 11) What tools are needed for data analysis? 12) How can we stay funded? Our evolving program has also been used as a test bed to examine new models of teacher's professional development that may aid our outreach efforts in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope program, the Thirty-Meter Telescope program, and the National Virtual Observatory program. We will describe a variety of lessons learned (and relearned) and try to describe best practices in promoting teacher and student research. 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.


Teaching and Learning With Cosmic Rays and the QuarkNet /Cosmic Ray Data Portal

* Whelan, K ( , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road MS 50R6008B, Berkeley, CA 94706 United States

Teachers and students across the country are observing cosmic rays using detectors in the classrooms. They can upload their data to our web-portal and then use their browsers to perform data analysis such as determinining muon lifetimes and flux rate dependencies. The data that is uploaded can be used by guests from anywhere in the world, even if they do not have a detector of their own. Students and teachers can make scientific discoveries and can publish their findings in an online poster session. They can also make comments and suggestions about each other's findings. Teachers can monitor their students' progress by having them use the virtual logbook.The portal is a tool that supports the inquiry method of learning and exposes students and teachers to the use of real data in scientific research. QuarkNet provides the opportunity for teachers to be trained in the use of the portal so that they can better transfer their own research experiences into the classroom.


The Cosmic Ray Observatory Project in Nebraska -- a education and research project to study extensive air showers

* Snow, G R ( , University of Nebraska, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy 116 Brace Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0111 United States

The Cosmic Ray Observatory Project (CROP) is a statewide education and research experiment involving Nebraska high school students, teachers, and college undergraduates in the study of extensive cosmic-ray air showers. A network of high school teams construct, install, and operate school-based detectors in coordination with University of Nebraska physics professors and graduate students. The detector system at each school is an array of scintillation counters recycled from the Chicago Air Shower Array in weather-proof enclosures on the school roof, with a GPS receiver providing a time stamp for cosmic-ray events. The detectors are connected to triggering electronics and a data-acquisition PC inside the building. Students share data via the Internet to search for time coincidences with other sites. CROP has enlisted 26 schools in its first 5 years of operation with the aim of expanding to the 314 high schools in the state over the next several years. Recent successes and prelinimary data on air shower searches will be presented. The outlook for statewise expansion will be discussed.


Magnetic data in the classroom using a sustainable Education and Outreach program

* Peticolas, L M ( , Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley 7 Gauss Way, MC 7450, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450 United States
Craig, N ( , Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley 7 Gauss Way, MC 7450, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450 United States
Odenwald, S ( , Astronomy Cafe, 9717 Culver Street, Kensington, MD 20895 United States
Walker, A ( , Cornerstone Evaluation Associates LLC, 205 Peddler Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-1975 United States

The NASA mission called Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) has an Education and Outreach Program (EPO) that brings THEMIS space science directly into the classroom. For this program, we have outfitted ten schools with research-grade magnetometers, i.e. instruments that measure local magnetic fields, and provided intensive and sustaining professional development on Earth's magnetosphere and space weather to a main teacher at the school. These schools are mostly high schools with a few middle schools participating as well. The program began in the fall of 2003 when teachers were selected. In June 2004, we had our first teacher professional development (PD) workshop. Five of the teachers had magnetometers installed in the fall of 2004 and began working on how to include the data into their classroom lesson plans. In the summer of 2005 we had our second PD workshop where we worked through activities the teachers could use in their classroom and received feedback from the teachers, some of whom had done a few of the activities with their students in the spring of 2005. In the fall of 2005, the remaining five magnetometers were installed. The THEMIS project has a variety of ongoing evaluation activities to monitor participating teachers' responses to the yearly professional development workshops and their use of THEMIS-related curriculum/activities/materials in their classrooms, schools and communities. The methods used to gather THEMIS teacher data-both quantitative and qualitative in nature-include questionnaires, intensive telephone interviews and focus groups. We will present how all the magnetometer data is shared with the teachers via the web, our plans and difficulties in bringing research into the classroom, and the ways we hope to tie the data in with the Student Observation Network (SON) at NASA. We will discuss how our close and sustained collaboration with the teachers helps to get the NASA data and products in their classroom and the difficulties that arise with such a project. In addition we will show how this small program is beginning to balloon into a project that includes many more teachers than the original ten. This increase in participation occurs by helping the ten teachers to be teacher leaders, sharing the work with other teachers, creating materials that other teachers around the country will find useful and exciting for their classrooms, and partnering with EPO missions and another institution which was awarded funding to participate in the THEMIS project.


Research-infused K-12 Science at the "Uttermost Part of the Earth:" An NSF GK-12 Fellow's Perspective

* Perry, E ( , The Department of Geological Sciences, The Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station Stop C1140, Austin, TX 78712 United States
Ellins, K , The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, The Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 4412 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX 78759 United States
Ormiston, C , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Dovzak, N , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Anderson, S , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Tingle, D , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Knettel, P , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Redding, S , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Odle, K , Boerne High School, Boerne Independent School District, 123 West Johns Road, Boerne, TX 78006 United States
Dalziel, I , The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, The Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 4412 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX 78759 United States

In March 2005, four students and three teachers from Boerne High School in Texas accompanied UTIG GK-12 Co-PIs Katherine Ellins and Ian Dalziel, and NSF GK-12 Fellow Ethan Perry to Tierra del Fuego to join an international team of scientists studying the climate-tectonic history recorded in Lago Fagnano, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. For two weeks, students and teachers engaged in authentic scientific research that included geologic field mapping and reconnaissance, and student/teacher developed water and soils sampling routines. The Lago Fagnano experience enabled: (1) the Boerne High School group to be integrated into an active field research program and to bring tangible experiences, knowledge and high-quality data back to the classroom; (2) participating research scientists to convey the importance of their science to a wider audience; and (3) the NSF GK-12 Fellow to gain valuable experience in communicating the essential scientific knowledge and field skills to high school participants before field deployment. The GK-12 Fellow's bridging role through the course of the project enhanced his scientific understanding of the climate-tectonic setting of Tierra del Fuego, fostered the development of new professional contacts with research scientists and led to a fresh perspective on how research science can be integrated in high school science curriculum. The GK-12 Fellow served as the primary mentor to the K-12 participants and the liaison between UTIG research scientists and the Boerne High School group. The Fellow helped prepare the Boerne group for the field research experience and to design a research project using water and soil analyses to assess chemical and isotopic trends within the lake's watershed. Preparatory activities began three months prior to field deployment and included workshops, classroom visits and teleconferences aimed at teaching field skills (reading and creating geologic maps, compass measurements, GPS, field notebooks) and increasing participants' knowledge of geoscience concepts and regional tectonics. The Fellow blended inquiry- and discussion-based exercises to convey the relevance of the Lago Fagnano research. Interaction between the GK-12 Fellow and Boerne High School participants preceding, during and following the field experience was an important element in the success of this research experience for teachers and their students. This interaction benefited the high school students and teachers because they were able to grasp the fundamental goals of the research experience prior to arriving in the field, thereby ensuring that the time spent in the field was used efficiently to carry out the project. Long-term involvement in the planning, execution and synthesis of the experience provided the high school participants with a sense of ownership of the science conducted on Lago Fagnano. This field initiative represents the first time that both K-12 students and teachers were integrated into a field setting with UTIG research scientists. Such experiences are valuable because they demonstrate the true manner in which science is conducted and advance partnerships between university research institutions and K-12 schools. The level of mentoring that the GK-12 Fellow provided through all stages of the project maximized the potential benefits of such an experience.


SEAS (Student Experiments At Sea): Helping Teachers Foster Authentic Student Inquiry in the Science Classroom

* Goehring, L ( , Ridge 2000, Penn State University, 208 Mueller Lab, University Park, PA 16802 United States
Kelsey, K ( , Seattle Public Schools, MS 32-303, PO Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165 United States
Carlson, J ( , Laguna Hills High School, 25401 Paseo de Valencia, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 United States

Teacher professional development designed to promote authentic research in the classroom is ultimately aimed at improving student scientific literacy. In addition to providing teachers with opportunities to improve their understanding of science through research experiences, we need to help facilitate similar learning in students. This is the focus of the SEAS (Student Experiments At Sea) program: to help students learn science by doing science. SEAS offers teachers tools and a framework to help foster authentic student inquiry in the classroom. SEAS uses the excitement of deep-sea research, as well as the research facilities and human resources that comprise the deep-sea scientific community, to engage student learners. Through SEAS, students have the opportunity to practice inquiry skills and participate in research projects along side scientists. SEAS is a pilot program funded by NSF and sponsored by the Ridge 2000 research community. The pilot includes inquiry-based curricular materials, facilitated interaction with scientists, opportunities to engage students in research projects, and teacher training. SEAS offers a framework of resources designed to help translate inquiry skills and approaches to the classroom environment, recognizing the need to move students along the continuum of scientific inquiry skills. This framework includes hands-on classroom lessons, {\it Classroom to Sea} labs where students compare their investigations with at-sea investigations, and a student experiment competition. The program also uses the Web to create a virtual ''scientific community'' including students. Lessons learned from this two year pilot emphasize the importance of helping teachers feel knowledgeable and experienced in the process of scientific inquiry as well as in the subject. Teachers with experience in scientific research were better able to utilize the program. Providing teachers with access to scientists as a resource was also important, particularly given the challenges of working in the deep-sea environment. Also, fostering authentic student investigations (i.e., working through preparatory materials, developing proposals, analyzing data and writing summary reports) is challenging to fit within the academic year. Nonetheless, teacher feedback highlights that the excitement generated by participation in real research is highly motivating. Further, students experience a ''paradigm shift'' in understanding evidence-based reasoning and the process of scientific discovery.