Paper No. 13-11
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
SCIENCE TEACHING FOR OHIO’S NEW ECONOMY (STONE); BUILDING A MORE DIVERSE GEOSCIENCE WORKFORCE THROUGH A K-12 TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Aggregate and mining based industries are critical to the economic well being of Ohio, employing approximately 5,000 people directly and another 40,000 in supporting professions. However, the workforce is aging with 76% of workers aged 50 years old or above. Therefore the development and recruiting of a diverse geoscience workforce is essential for Ohio’s economic health. Studies indicate that careers are usually decided upon in high school but because Earth science is not a required subject in Ohio high schools, students do not commonly consider geoscience careers. In order to make K-12 teachers and students aware of career opportunities in the geosciences and give teachers the content knowledge that enables them to weave geoscience into other curriculum areas the STONE teacher professional development program was developed. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, STONE is a partnership between Wright State University and the Ohio Aggregate and Industrial Mineral Association. STONE has both summer and academic year components. The two-week summer component is residential and draws teachers from across Ohio, including many teachers from high need K-12 school districts in urban and rural areas of the state. In summer 2015 teachers from large urban K-12 school districts such as Dayton and Columbus participated alongside teachers from small rural school districts and other public and private schools from throughout Ohio. During the academic year STONE participants work together on-line to develop and share inquiry based geoscience activities for their students and to discuss and report on their efforts to build awareness of geoscience careers for their students. These activities include connecting with local industry and regulatory agency personnel in order to speak at school career fairs, asking them to serve as outside speakers for classroom learning activities or as contacts for hosting class field trips at their quarries or businesses. External and formative assessment of the STONE program indicate that teacher participants gain a greater understanding of what geoscientists do, what academic preparation their students need for a geoscience career and report an increased confidence in teaching geoscience related material.