HR: 1340h
AN: ED23A-1245    [Abstracts]
TI: NSF GK-12 Fellows as Mentors for K-12 Teachers Participating in Field Research Experiences
AU: * Ellins, K
AF: University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, 4412 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX 78759 United States
AU: Perry, E
AF: Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, UT Austin, P.O. Box B, University Station, Austin, TX 78713 United States
AB: 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.
DE: 0805 Elementary and secondary education
DE: 0815 Informal education
DE: 0830 Teacher training
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: Fall Meeting 2005