2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 242-11
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM


ABOLINS, Mark, Department of Geosciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Box 9, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, Mark.Abolins@mtsu.edu

During Summer 2015, 5 Earth science, 3 chemistry, and 2 biology pre-service teachers participated in the Geoenvironmental Challenges Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Geoenvironmental Challenges is the NSF Geosciences Directorate’s first REU Site specifically designed for pre-service teachers. The participants were involved in discipline-specific Earth science, chemistry, and plant ecology science research for slightly less than 8 of 9 weeks, and all were involved in at least some field work. During the first week of the experience, they participated in two days of ranger-led citizen science in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The participants also completed a little more than one unit of the NSF InTeGrate pre-service teacher “Exploring Geoscience Methods” module, and they were asked to complete a standards-based lesson plan as the summative assessment for the entire module. Nine of the participants completed lesson plans, and one of these was a high school version of a part of that participant’s REU investigation, three would provide students with background needed to understand a participant’s REU investigation, three were largely unrelated to the REU, and two were initially difficult to characterize. Only one of the lesson plans focused on climate change, although much of the subject matter in the “Methods” module and 1 of the 5 research investigations was related to climate change.

Participants were also asked to write a 7-20 page end-of-experience paper describing how they would mentor pre-college research (e.g., science fair projects), lead citizen science, or both after becoming classroom teachers. Seven participants submitted papers, and two submitted paper topics during the third week of the experience although those two did not submit papers. The papers and paper topics show that, among other things, 7 of the participants plan to involve pre-college students in citizen science and 5 of the participants plan to involve pre-college students in field-based learning including field-based citizen science. Of the two participants who did not emphasize citizen science, field-based learning, or both, one plans to mentor science fair projects and involve students in research within a classroom setting, and the other plans to implement project-based learning.