IMPACT OF A 2014 NINE-WEEK INTENSIVE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE ON A PRE-SERVICE TEACHER’S ACTIVE LEARNING PRACTICES AT THE SALVATION ARMY’S SUMMER 2015 DAY CAMP IN NASHVILLE, TN
With fellow pre-service teacher Evans and mentor Abolins, Bomar engaged in eight weeks of structural geology research during Summer 2014. Concurrently, she worked with Evans and four of the other pre-service teachers to collect and adapt middle school Earth science materials, including a continental drift flip book downloaded from Purdue University’s “Explorations in Earth Science” website. In addition, Bomar learned about shake tables from Nashville Adventure Science Center educator Larry Dunlap-Berg during a single-day field trip, and fellow REU pre-service teacher Kimberly Stinnett taught her how to use readily-available construction materials to create low-cost white boards for student use.
During Summer 2015, Bomar involved forty students ages 6-10 in creative activities combining Earth science with art at Day Camp. Day Camp focuses primarily on involving elementary and middle school students in the arts, outdoor sports, and life skills learning. The goal of including science was to improve student performance in science classes and science fair projects. Bomar used “Geology” and the flip book to teach Earth science background knowledge in an active format in which students wrote and drew on the white boards. Then Bomar organized the students into 5-student groups of like-ability, and the students used shake tables provided by Mr. Dunlap-Berg to design and test engineering structures. Bomar moved among the groups coaching them to experiment in ways which were appropriate to the ability of the students in each group.