EARTH SCIENCE FOR EDUCATORS: A STANDARDS FOCUSED COURSE FOR IN-SERVICE TEACHERS IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA
The goals of this class include improvement of earth science content knowledge for the teachers; an emphasis on teachers familiarizing themselves with the earth science national/state/school district standards; and learning how to incorporate these and other standards into their classrooms in an inquiry-based approach. An emphasis is placed on the multi-disciplinary nature of earth science and how the earth science standards can be used to meet other science (and non-science) standards. This is especially important in high school science classrooms in Omaha, as OPS has dropped the Earth Science course requirement for student graduation, but kept the Earth Science standards in the curriculum. Methods of learning include traditional lecture (kept to a minimum), hands-on learning, and field trips to local areas that display certain geologic relationships or processes.
The outcome of this class is a teacher who is more confident and comfortable with the subject matter that she/he must teach. As a final project, each teacher must present to the rest of the class a complete unit of study on a topic that they were initially uncomfortable presenting in their own classrooms. These units of study are available for sharing with other classmates. Assessment of the class has been very positive.