Paper No. 9-16
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
PROVIDING NGSS-FOCUSED TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE EARTH2CLASS MODEL
Impending implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides many opportunities for improvements in classroom curricula and professional development programs. The Earth2Class Workshops (E2C) at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (LDEO) provides one model for creating effective teacher training to meet the NGSS challenges. Since 1998, E2C has provided more than 130 workshops bringing together LDEO research scientists with classroom teachers from the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere. In each session, teachers have the chance to learn first-hand about new discoveries in the wide range of investigations conducted at LDEO. This approach aligns strongly with the NGSS goals: mastery of the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, understanding the nature of science, and cross-cutting relationships. Through the E2C website www.earth2class.org, teachers and students not able to attend the live workshops can access archival versions of the sessions. The website also provides a vast array of educational resources. These have proved to be very valuable on a national basis, as evidenced by an average of more than 300,000 hits per month from thousands of site visitors. During workshops, participating teachers interact with scientists to gain understanding of what stimulated research questions, how scientists put together all the components of investigations, and ways in which results are disseminated. Networking among teachers often leads to developing lesson plans based on the science, as well as support for professional growth not always possible within the school setting. During the next couple of years, the E2C program will expand to provide more resources useful for educators seeking to introduce NGSS-based programs in their districts. This approach can be applied in other settings, with appropriate modifications.