THE AGU-NESTA GIFT WORKSHOP FOR K-12 TEACHERS: BRINGING COOL SCIENCE INTO THE CLASSROOM
The workshop brings together teams of presenters whose work spans a range of topics; the 2011 workshop included presentations on climate change, tsunamis, volcanoes, and more. Presentation teams include both scientists and education specialists. Overall, the teachers found the workshop’s approach of spanning various topics that were tied to classroom curriculum requirements very useful. This tactic strengthened not only the delivery of the workshop but also its utility to the teachers. We have incorporated proven approaches from NESTA’s professional development offerings, including Share-a-Thons, and ensure that each scientific presentation includes work with associated classroom activities that are relevant to what teachers need to teach. Moreover, making all the workshop content (videos, worksheets, and presentations) freely available online was an excellent way to widen dissemination of the workshop materials beyond just the attendees.
Workshop evaluation results show that participating teachers value GIFT, and AGU is committed to improving it every year. In 2011, 60% of the teachers participating in the workshop had been to GIFT before. They hailed from eight U.S. states and Canada. On a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being outstanding, the average rating for last year’s workshop was 1.6. A successful workshop could not be run without the scientists and education professionals who share their work with the GIFT participants, and this work is deeply appreciated by the teachers.