Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS: HOW THE STEM TEACHER AND RESEARCHER (STAR) PROGRAM FOSTERS INSTRUCTIONAL STYLES ALIGNED WITH THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (NGSS)
Research experiences uniquely prepare K-12 teachers to engage their students in scientific practices and facilitate their conceptual understandings as outlined by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The structure of the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) Program presents an opportunity for pre-service math and science teachers to acquire a deep, personal understanding of the nature of scientific discovery by (1) involving participants in authentic research with a mentor at a research facility, and (2) providing weekly education workshops developed and taught by a master teacher from a local K-12 school and a faculty liaison from a local university/college. Since 2007 the STAR program has arranged over 350 research experiences for students from across the country at a broad range of national laboratory facilities. The education workshops uniquely connect participants to the teacher-researcher community and help them link “the doing” of science with “the teaching” of science. At the end of the summer participants present their research at the program’s closing conference. As an example of how the STAR program achieves its mission, we describe the education workshops that were developed for nine pre-service teachers placed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the summer of 2013. These workshops concentrated on the nature of scientific discovery, the cross-disciplinary nature of research at JPL, the communication of scientific concepts, and pedagogical strategies to help participants transform their research experiences into inquiry-based activities for their future classrooms. The faculty liaison serves as a teacher-researcher role model and is a valuable resource for participants as they incorporate their research experiences into lesson plans, write scientific abstracts, and create presentations of their results. The master teacher lends classroom experience and expertise to the workshops by drawing connections between the research experience and the effective day-to-day planning and delivery of high school content. The NGSS enhancement of earth and space science content for grades 9-12 is well demonstrated at JPL where earth and space science research involves math, physics, biology, chemistry, and engineering specialists.