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Hydrosphere for K-8 Teachers: Role in the Program

Page prepared for SERC by Steve Mattox of Grand Valley State University.

A discussion of the design and implementation of geoscience content course serving pre-service teachers at Grand Valley State University, created by Steve Mattox.

A description of this course and its goals is available.

What Role Does this Course Play in Teacher Preparation?

In addition to presenting earth science content in an inquiry-based format the students gain additional practice in writing and writing 5E lessons, they interact with local teachers, they develop field and problem solving skills, and introduces them to ways of fusing science and literacy skills.

How does the Course Address Each Role?

This crop of students had mastered the 5E format so they used this framework to write field-based activities for local teachers and presented them to the teachers in the field. To develop the activities they had to face field problems and solve them. Their second assignment involved reading, writing and developing useful activities to match popular children's science trade books and submit it for publication.

How do Students Integrate Learning & Teaching?

They had to apply their earth science knowledge to developing field activities and literacy skills. They had to communicate in writting and orally with inservice teachers.

How does the Course Transition Pre-service Teachers into the Classroom?

It provides some contacts with a local school. It demonstrates their skills in writing 5E lessons and addressing state science standards. It provides content knowledge that hopefully translates to confidence in the classroom.

How is the Course Content Aligned with the National Science Education Standards?

It general we match the state standards that are aligned to the federal. They see the national standards for the manuscript for NSTA.

How does the Course Meet Certification Requirements?

Part of the 12 credits of Earth and Space Science required in the state's Integrated Science major for future K-8 teachers.

What Challenges have been Encountered in Teaching this Course? How have they been Resolved?

Field conditions in winter in Michigan can be a challenge (the hydrosphere was frozen). We did bump our schedule to "spring" but it is still difficult to get all the data we want before the semester ends.

Not enough time to do all the content I'd like (more historical views, more deep data sets, more climate change).