GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 3-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


PETCOVIC, Heather1, BERTMAN, Steven2, DAVIS, Lauri E.3, KACZMAREK, Stephen4, KOCH, Kevin5, LONG, Valerie5 and VELLOM, R. Paul6, (1)Geological & Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (2)Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (3)Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49006, (4)Geological & Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (5)Kalamazoo Public Schools, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (6)Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

In order to fully achieve implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), preservice teachers need opportunities to engage in all three dimensions of the NGSS. The opportunity to design, conduct, and carry out a scientific investigation and to connect this experience with teaching NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) is frequently missing from teacher preparation programs.

To address this gap, Pathways to Science Teaching, an NSF-GeoPaths project at Western Michigan University, engages 8 undergraduate future teachers each year in a 10-week summer program that couples water quality research with teaching youth summer camps. Across three years (2018, 2019, and 2021), the program included 16 education majors and 7 science/engineering majors with a strong interest in teaching from highly diverse backgrounds. Participants learned about local water quality issues from community stakeholders, designed and conducted water quality research in local watersheds, and taught water science to grade K-9 youth in summer camps. They communicated research results and camp lessons in both a campus-based open house event and at a professional conference.

NGSS SEPs are highlighted throughout the program, both in framing the water quality research and in the lessons developed for youth camps. Data from the Science Instructional Practices survey (SIPS; Hayes et al., 2016) and post-program interviews suggest that participants report increased knowledge of choosing variables to investigate, data collection and analysis, using models, designing investigations, and arguing from evidence. They also report significant growth in their comfort in teaching youth to design and implement investigations, conduct data analysis, use physical and conceptual models, and argue from evidence. Program evaluation suggests that the Pathways program could be a productive model to improve the preparation of preservice teachers to teach NGSS scientific practices in the context of earth and space sciences.

  • Pathways Talk GSA 2021.pdf (3.4 MB)