2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


GILBERT, Andrew1, MOORE, Andrew2, SMITH, Alison J.2 and FAYE, Kenneth3, (1)Department of Teaching,Leadership & Curriculum Studies, Kent State Univ, Kent, OH 44242, (2)Department of Geology, Kent State Univ, Kent, OH 44242, (3)Earth Science Teacher, Timken High School, Canton, OH 44702, agilber1@kent.edu

As part of the Northeast Ohio Center for Excellence for Mathematics and Science Teacher Education, a professional development project funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, we are developing a need-based course in Environmental Geology for pre-service (K-8) teachers, in order to infuse pedagogy into a content-based science course. We wish to provide teachers with challenging inquiry-based science experiences that will ultimately equip them with not only the content knowledge and pedagogical experience needed in a classroom, but also the tools to engage their future students. We collaboratively designed lesson plans for an Environmental Geology course, including such topics as Thermohaline Circulation and Groundwater Contaminant Transport. The goal of these lessons is to engage future teachers in the work of real science, a goal mandated by the state of Ohio and National Science Standards.

Lecture classes typically do not allow for open discussion and interaction, and tend not to convey the important concept that Science is a process of discovery, not a body of isolated facts. In these lessons, students, working in groups, gather data, form their own hypotheses, and test those hypotheses as part of this lecture class setting. This is the fundamental difference: in our approach, students construct understanding based on their experiences, as opposed to the more passive approach of lecture format. This is a more focused approach to teaching, in that less material is covered during the semester, but in exchange, we believe the students gain a deeper understanding of and a higher comfort level with major scientific concepts and the connections between them.