Natural and Environmental Sciences
Western State College of Colorado
The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
Amy Ellwein is a visiting professor (geology and science education) at Western State College of Colorado and the Director of Science Education and Communications at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. From 2007 to 2010, Amy was a lecturer in the Natural Sciences Program at the University of New Mexico, teaching integrated lab-lecture science courses for non-majors and education majors (pre-service teachers). She is a founding and active board member of the Science Education Institute of the Southwest (SEIS) - a New Mexico based organization providing science professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers since 2003 (e.g. see links below - Geobotany, Watersheds and Rivers, Using Scientific Data, etc.).
Active Learning and Lasting Impacts: Reflective Writing in a Field-Based Geobotany Course for Teachers part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Activities
In this Geobotany course, pre- and in-service teachers learn basic botany and how landforms, rock types, and soils affect the distribution of plants using an earth system science approach. Participants make observations and interpretations in both the field and lab every day. At the end of each day, participants write about their experiences, self-confidence, and perceived competence as amateur scientists during a reflective writing exercise, for which instructors provide feedback each evening. On the last day of the course, participants are taken to a location with different geobotanical relationships than they've previously studied and work in groups to discuss and interpret the relationships they observe. At the end of the course, teachers write a 10-page paper that outlines what they've learned about geology, botany, and the nature of science, as well as how they plan to use the new content and skills with their students in the context of the New Mexico State Science Standards. A detailed description of the reflective writing exercise and how it fits into the course goals is provided. Learn more about the course for which this activity was developed.
Exploring Earth Systems Science: The Interactive GLOBE Earth System Poster part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
In this introduction to Earth Systems Science, students use images depicting global environmental data (insolation, surface temperature, precipitation, cloud fraction, aerosols, etc.) throughout the course of 2007 to explore connections and patterns in the climate system. In groups, students explore single images of a single data set, then explore how those data change through the course of a year. They move on to exploring relationships between two variables for a single month as well as throughout one year. Groups report out to the class about their findings.
The Activity Model for Inquiry: Reflective Writing Prompts part of Process of Science:Examples
This reflective writing activity is a daily writing exercise requiring teacher participants to summarize scientific content they are learning as part of a fast-paced, one-week earth science course, as well as to identify and examine their misconceptions and consider their use of the Activity Model for Inquiry (a modified version of the "standard" outline of the scientific method; Harwood, 2004). It also provides an opportunity for tracking changes in their attitudes towards field science and the application of the scientific method, and following their progress in understanding the material. Insights gained from the reflective writing serve as the most important resource for the final course paper. A detailed description of the reflective writing exercise and how it fits into the learning goals is provided.
Using Scientific Data For Multi-Disciplinary Science Instruction (PD for K-12 Teachers) part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Course
Using Scientific Data is a professional development course for in-service K-12 teachers focused on climate change and Earth system science that also explores how climate concepts can be incorporated into courses other than earth science. The course provides the opportunity to explore multi-disciplinary resources for data-rich classroom instruction. Teachers review and critique online curricula and datasets, experiment with data visualizations and share how they use scientific data in their classrooms. This course was supported by NM EPSCoR.
Watersheds and Rivers part of Process of Science:Courses
This course uses simple yet authentic methods to describe properties of a local river system in order to better understand how all rivers function. The process of science is explicitly discussed and examined throughout the course using the Activity Model for Inquiry (AMI; Harwood, 2004). Within this context, we focus on improving field skills, contextualizing and interpreting field data, and discussing how teachers might use this approach or these methods with their students.
University of New Mexico - Geobotany part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Courses
This field-based course for pre- and in-service teachers was modified from an upper-level Botany course to focus on earth and life science content as described in the revised 2003 New Mexico Science Standards. For Dr. Ellwein's reflections on the course and its design, see Geobotany: Role in the Program.
Want better-prepared students? Teach teachers to think like geoscientists part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Want better-prepared students? Teach teachers to think like geoscientists Amy Ellwein, Geology Program, Western State College of Colorado Among other courses, I teach inquiry-based, integrated lab-lecture science ...
Earth Science for Secondary Teachers - Connection to Place part of Teacher Preparation:Workshops and Activities:Workshop 2007
Group Members Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Pacific Northwest Geology Gary Solar, Geology of New York State Amy Ellwein, Geobotany Joel Johnson, Earth System Science for Teachers Approach to Teaching the Course What ...