FIELD AND LAB PRACTICUM PROVIDES TOOLS TO INSPIRE GEOSCIENCE CLASSROOM LEARNING
During the 7-week Practicum, candidates engage in fieldwork and in lab research. They gain an understanding of local geological history via a week-long fieldtrip and 4 more day trips focused on observable urban geology. They learn proper methods for collecting, recording, and organizing data. Mentors from previous cohorts accompany field teams, providing best-practice advice from their own classroom experiences with urban secondary school students in the geosciences. Candidates collect a wide diversity of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks (and fossils) in the NY highlands, Newark Basin, and Catskill Delta. They can cut and polish these samples at AMNH. They inspire future students by bringing samples they collected themselves and images of their field and lab work, all directly to their classrooms.
Additionally, candidates complete a small research project in paleontology, astronomy, mineralogy-petrology or experimental petrology, which includes sample/data collection, sample preparation, laboratory analysis, data interpretation, and reporting of results in both written and oral format. They also compile a teaching resource, such as a suite of rocks and corresponding photographs and video, with lesson plans for use in future classrooms.
This model closely connects museum scientists and new teachers for ongoing mutual development. Evaluations reveal that by program’s end, candidates exhibit comfort in navigating both the arenas of science and secondary education. They are well equipped to inspire and communicate NY Regents level geoscience to diverse populations in their high needs classrooms.
 Nadeau P. A. et al. 2013. EOS 94:205-212.