Paper No. 228-10
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM
FOSSILS4TEACHERS! – CONNECTING FOSSIL CLUBS WITH K-12 TEACHERS
In August 2017, the Florida Museum and the FOSSIL Project hosted K-12 teachers (formal STEM educators) from different grade levels, fossil club members (informal STEM educators), and professional paleontologists from across the United States to participate in the professional development (PD), FOSSILs4Teachers! This week-long PD provided science content via talks, brainstorming, behind-the-scenes collection tours, hands-on activities and an optional field trip for participants. These activities were provided so that participants could incorporate them into their lessons in an effort to provide fact-based evidence to teach topics like evolution and climate change. Along with STEM content learning about fossils and paleontology, club members and the Florida Museum donated more than 10,000 fossil specimens to create kits for K-12 instructional purposes back in the classrooms. Many of the teachers had no prior connection with amateur fossil clubs, or their members, nor did they previously have access to real fossil resources. Likewise, most of the amateur paleontologists (who were not teachers) had no prior experience developing lesson plans. Deliverables of this PD included the development of 14 lesson plans aligned with state standards (including, as appropriate, NGSS). Fossil club members and teachers continue to collaborate online through the myFOSSIL collaborative learning portal. Through participant evaluations, we have begun to understand how participants have applied what they’ve learned in their classrooms. This talk will focus on how to create a successful professional development for K-12 educators, by professionals, museum educators and club members, as well as the potential outcomes that stem from workshops of this nature. FOSSILs4Teachers! demonstrates the efficacy of connecting informal and formal audiences for collaborative, authentic learning and mutual benefit within the field of paleontology.