2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Enhancing Middle and High School Geoscience Teacher Preparation through Research Experience, Foundational Coursework, and Classroom Collaboration with University Graduate Students

GRAHAM, Karen1, HENDERSON, Susan2, BRYCE, Julia3, FINKEL, Liza4, GUERTIN, Laura A.5, VARNER, Ruth6, JOHNSON, Joel3, FURMAN, Tanya7, DARWISH, Abdalla8 and PORTER, William9, (1)Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education, University of New Hampshire, 138 Parsons Hall, 23 College Rd, Durham, NH 03824, (2)Learning Innovations at WestEd, 200 Unicorn Park Dr., 4th floor, Woburn, MA 01801-3324, (3)Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, 121 James Hall, Durham, NH 03824, (4)Dept. of Education, University of New Hampshire, Morrill Hall, 62 College Rd, Durham, NH 03824, (5)Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063, (6)Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Climate Change Research Center, Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824, (7)Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, 333 Deike Building, University Park, PA 16802, (8)Dept. of Physics, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA 70112, (9)Dept. of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, Elizabeth City State University, Campus Box 971, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, karen.graham@unh.edu

In 2007-2008, 18 pre-service, 24 in-service teachers, and 7 geoscience graduate students participated in the NSF funded Transforming Earth Systems Education (TESSE) program. TESSE was designed to enhance middle and high school Earth science teacher preparedness through a year long program combining research experience, systems thinking, and inquiry-based pedagogy. Pre-service teachers from Dillard University (4), Elizabeth City State University (4), Pennsylvania State University (PSU, 5), and the University of New Hampshire (UNH, 5) engaged in an eight-week full-time research experience under the guidance of a geoscience university faculty member. Twenty-four in-service teachers also drawn from the regions of the four university partners joined the pre-service teachers at the University of New Hampshire for a two week Summer Institute designed to bolster Earth science content knowledge (with focus on Earth systems) and provide them with pedagogical tools to enhance inquiry-based instruction. In-service teachers all had Earth science teaching responsibilities and were self-identified as lacking in geoscience coursework and training. Through the academic year, 16 of the 24 in-service teachers worked in collaboration with three and four geoscience graduate students from PSU and UNH, respectively, to implement content and inquiry-based teaching in the teachers' classrooms. Data was collected on program effectiveness though on-line surveys, focus groups, and pre- and post-program administration of the Diagnostic Teacher Assessment for Middle-grade Science (DTAMS). For the Summer Institute, teachers scored “Very Satisfied” ratings with the content and pedagogical coverage (52%) and Instructor Quality (64%) of the Summer Institute, while less than 50% achieved this rating for Connection to Your Particular Career Path. Teachers' feedback informed the future program design to shift program emphasis away from content preparation toward more balance with effective pedagogical approaches. Results from the first year of pre- and post-program DTAMS will be presented and discussed.