Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM


PRESTON, Laura, Science Department, Salem High School, 44 Geremonty Drive, Salem, NH 03079, SMITH, Melissa, Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 and GRAHAM, Karen, Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education, University of New Hampshire, 138 Parsons Hall, 23 College Rd, Durham, NH 03824,

Partnerships in Research Opportunities to Benefit Education (PROBE) is a project funded by the National Science Foundation GK-12 initiative through the Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). PROBE connects high school science teachers with graduate students studying science at UNH. During the 2005-2006 school year a partnership was established between a geoscience teacher at Salem High School, New Hampshire and an Earth Science graduate student from UNH. Several new inquiry-based activities in Geology and Astronomy were developed as a result of this partnership. For example, a “fishbowl” activity was very successful in sparking a classroom discussion about how minerals are used in industrial materials. The class then went on to research how to make their own paint using minerals. This activity provided a capstone project at the end of the unit about minerals, and made real world connections to the subject. A more involved geology lesson was developed focusing on the current popular interest in forensics. Students were charged with researching how geology can play an important part in solving a crime. When they understood the role of geologic concepts within the scope of the forensic world, they used techniques to solve their own “crime”. Astronomy students were responsible for hosting and teaching middle school students about constellations, using a star-finder, and operating an interactive planetarium computer program. In order to successfully convey this information to the younger students, the high school students had to learn their material well. Examples of these lessons will be described with information about how teachers can use or adapt these lessons for their own classroom.