URBAN EARTH SCIENCE IN MILWAUKEE WI
Our approach is twofold. First we have developed specific content materials that include field guides to local parks, web based virtual field trips, instructional videos, and information on the local geologic and built environment that use the local settings to implement the national, state and local science content standards. Many of these products provide sample lesson plans, and pre and post filed trip activities. Second, we are developing similar instructional strategies for in-service and pre-service teachers that will eventually produce a seamless transition for new teachers entering MPS. For example, MPS is providing an in-service science literacy program to its teachers, which integrates science into the MPS balanced literacy program. This same information is given to the pre-ed majors at UWM, enrolled in the Geology for Pre-Ed Students course. In like fashion, a unit in the UWM course, which looks at shoreline processes on Lake Michigan, is also available to the MPS teachers through web sources and in-service projects.
The collaboration between the UWM and MPS is being well received by all participants. MPS teachers are energized by the field trip resources they have discovered in their own urban backyard. Pre-service students have expressed appreciation for the field experiences they had, as well as for the connection to MPS curriculum standards which helped make their learning experiences more meaningful. UWM and MPS are both confident that these initiatives will result in more standards based earth science instruction happening at the elementary school level.