Paper No. 138-9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA USING AUTHENTIC RESEARCH EXPERIENCES
The University of Nebraska at Omaha has partnered with the Omaha Public School District for the past three summers to provide authentic research experiences for in-service science teachers. The goal of this project was to provide a professional development opportunity in content and scientific process for teachers that will lead to a better understanding of how science is done, provide confidence for translation of research into the classroom, and to provide the opportunity for a science teacher to participate in a true inquiry experience. The Teacher-Researcher Partnership Program (TRPP) paired teachers with science faculty at UNO. Research projects lasted for 4 – 6 weeks and were highlighted by a capstone research symposium (a public poster presentation of their research). Taken together, these opportunities provide hands-on, mentored training in scientific research by university faculty to ultimately enhance K-12 science education.
The program assessed the teachers using a mixed-method approach. The major themes that emerged from the assessment were significant gains in science knowledge, confidence in teaching science, and perceptions of science by the teacher participants. Importantly, teachers reported a commitment to translate their research experiences into their classrooms with their students.
In this presentation, special attention will be given to TRPP experiences in the geosciences, specifically an investigation into geoscience education, a geoarchaeological study of pottery from Cyprus comparing clay derived from different sources, and a study of soil development in a restored prairie.