The programming listed below seeks to address the topic of Teacher Preparation, Professional Development and Policy Issues.
Designing NGSS Aligned Classroom Assessment Tasks to Support Instruction
Cheryl Manning, Evergreen High School
NGSS-ESS aligned instruction will naturally provide many opportunities for teachers to observe and record evidence of student learning. Assessment tasks comprised of multiple components reflect the connections between the DCIs, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices. This workshop will provide opportunities for both K-12 and post-secondary instructors to: explore sample NGSS assessment tasks, brainstorm how to go about the process of developing assessment tasks, and work on developing an assessment task that supports 3-dimensional instruction.
Incorporating Earth Science into Other High School Science Classes
AFTERNOON MINI WORKSHOP
Cheryl Manning, Evergreen High School
We will explore some different approaches to integrate Earth Science concepts into Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses by finding the interconnections between the sciences using the Next Generation Science Standards. We will identify ways to reference the role of Earth Sciences in the other sciences during lectures, activities and laboratory assignments and develop relevant problems for students to solve that weave the sciences together. This will focus on using current issues, media stories, and problems affecting participant communities. Working in collaborative teams, participants will develop intriguing problem statements, setting the stage for high school students to research and design solutions using an integrated science approach. By the end of the workshop, participants will have created a lesson or unit of study that engages students through problem-based learning and a list resources that can be used in solving the problem.
A Longitudinal Study of Science Teaching Efficacy and Math Anxiety in Pre-Service Teachers
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Negative attitudes of elementary teachers towards science and math have been well documented for several decades, a combination which impacts how science content is taught (Bleicher, 2001; Joseph, 2010), and ultimately has a limiting effect on student learning outcomes (Shrigley, 1974). These attitudes can be passed on to elementary students by their teachers, which encourages students to avoid science and math in the future (Beilock, 2010). Though studies of in-service teachers' perceptions of science and math have been done (e.g. Wenner, 2001), little work exists to show how these attitudes develop together in pre-service elementary teachers (PETs). This limits our ability to develop interventions that target both attitudes and content knowledge. Eastern Michigan University's PETs take three science courses in sequence: Physics, Earth Science, and Biology, all designed specifically for PETs. We have collected data on more than 225 students' science teaching efficacy (STEBI; Enoch and Riggs, 1990) and math anxiety (AMARS; Alexander and Martray, 1989) at the beginning and end of each of these courses, including multiple sections of Physics and Biology, and an additional 200 Earth Science students' science teaching efficacy. While most teaching beliefs are established before students head to college, these courses represent one last opportunity to change PETs' attitudes towards science and math, as well as their ability to teach science and math content. This work builds on previous identification of specific items on the STEBI that changed over a semester-long Earth Science course, and students' explanations for those changes (Ryker, 2015). The following questions are explored in this study: Do PETs with high math anxiety also have negative perceptions towards science, given how interrelated the two are, or do students treat them as two different domains? How do these attitudes change with exposure to required science courses, or specific strategies used in them?
Correlations between Teacher Preparation and Conceptual Understanding in the Earth Sciences
Russ Colson, Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Karl Leonard, Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Teachers of earth science in Minnesota and North Dakota have a wide range of preparational backgrounds. To provide insight into factors influencing preparation, we have administered an essay test to inservice and preservice teachers, geology majors, and members of the student body at Minnesota State University Moorhead. This test is not primarily a test of factual knowledge, but rather evaluates conceptual understanding and creative thinking on questions that might arise in an 8th grade or high school classroom, particularly as relevant to teaching investigative science or addressing student questions. These concepts are commonly taught in introductory college earth science. The test was validated by a panel of geoscience educators ranging from 8th grade to college instructors and scored independently by two graders who followed a scoring rubric. We consider correlations to several factors, including number of courses taken in earth science, courses taken in other sciences, whether courses are introductory or advanced, and whether they were traditional (classroom and lab) or nontraditional (workshop or online course). Teaching experience was also taken into account. Results indicate that introductory courses, even when they specifically address the material tested, are generally insufficient to provide a conceptual understanding sufficient to teach earth science at the junior high or high school. Teaching experience is the most significant factor correlated to conceptual understanding, but only when that experience builds on traditional classroom experiences. Workshops and online courses, when taken without prior traditional foundation in earth science, provide no statistically significant improvement in understanding of the discipline. We conclude that tracking student exposure to a set of "content standards" is an inadequate means to confirm proper preparation of teachers. Instead, future teachers benefit from a 'synergistic' exposure to broader disciplinary material outside the standards and repeated exposure to material more advanced than they are required to teach.
Leveraging K-12 principal training and evaluation standards to support environmental, ecological and sustainability education in public schools: An example of Policy Analysis in GER
Anthony Feig, Central Michigan University
Rodolfo Rincones, University of Texas at El Paso
Policy analysis is the process of understanding 1) the most effective means for accomplishing a goal within a given policy framework, and 2) how policies and goals relate. In this study, the goal is to establish a rigorous, holistic Earth Systems/Environmental Science curriculum in a public school. The policies being analyzed are the training and evaluation processes for school principals. Environmental science, ecology and sustainability studies can be conceptually packaged as "ecoliteracy." The four themes of ecoliteracy education are environmental justice, stewardship, deep time and understanding Earth systems as interconnected processes. In setting a school's goals and culture of learning, principals can establish a vision and curriculum of ecoliteracy. Because ecoliteracy is such a dramatic departure from current practice in public K-12 science education, principals require significant support and endorsement from higher levels in their efforts. In Texas and Michigan, Administrator (Principal) Standards fall into seven categories: Executive leadership/vision, learning/curriculum leadership, school culture, school operations, personnel management, external/collaborative relationships and ethics. A convergence exists between the principles of ecoliteracy education and the training and evaluation of public school principals. Comparative case study reveals that, with proper interpretation, Principal Standards and Performance Indicators in both Texas and Michigan can support a principal's efforts to establish ecoliteracy education at the building level. This support is especially desirable in the face of high-stakes accountability and the devaluing of science education.
A Case of High School Earth and Space Science in the Great Plains
Elizabeth Lewis, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
While U.S. high school students' access to Earth and space science (ESS) varies widely from state to state, nationally ESS content is the most neglected area of science education. States are in the process of formally adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which have been carefully developed and articulated in conjunction with state educational leaders. However, the authors of the standards rarely address the classroom-level challenge with which states, school districts, and teachers must grapple in order to enact science lessons that reflect the distinctive features of ESS concepts and show that their students are meeting the NGSS high school learning objectives. This study of one Great Plains state asks the questions: (a) How do school districts provide ESS education at the high school level? and (b) To what degree is ESS being taught by in- and out-of-field science teachers? We found that only 12% of sampled districts offered a stand-alone ESS course for high school students, while 76% of districts integrated ESS topics with existing physical science and/or biology courses. School districts control the course structure of how ESS state and national standards are implemented in HS classrooms. During the 7-year period (2007-2008 to 2013-2014 academic years) we investigated, the state awarded 759 science teaching endorsements to either new or in-service teachers; only 3.16% were secondary (grades 7-12) single-subject ESS endorsements. Thus, most high school science teachers are teaching ESS out-of-field and are doing so with less than a minor in the subject. When teachers teach out-of-field they lack the confidence and ESS subject matter knowledge to teach using inquiry-based approaches and are less likely to recognize misconceptions and oversimplification of ESS content. With continued marginalization of 9-12 ESS education through policy and practice, we may never achieve our national vision of scientific literacy.
Opportunities and motivations for cultivating Earth and sustainability literacy in future teachers
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Kim Kastens, Columbia University in the City of New York
Valentina Mara, Columbia University in the City of New York
In an effort to infuse sustainability and Earth literacy across the undergraduate curriculum, InTeGrate has developed instructional materials for implementation in several types of courses. One of the target audiences is future K-12 teachers. All students who took part in 2012-2015 testing of InTeGrate instructional materials participated in pre- and post- assessments of Earth literacy using the Geoscience Literacy Exam (GLE) and of sustainable behaviors and motivations using the InTeGrate Attitudinal Instrument (IAI). A total of 1125 students provided at least some matched responses to these two instruments. Of those, 245 students were determined to be "very interested in teaching," either by the nature of the course they were enrolled in or their responses to career and major questions on the IAI. The majority of the "very interested" students are not enrolled in a designated teacher preparation course, but in general education science courses. In their responses to the IAI, they distinguish themselves from their peers by being more influenced by family and friends in their decisions to engage in sustainable behaviors and by a commitment to incorporating knowledge about Earth and the environment into their professional careers. It is possible that these differences are due to the demographics of this population, including that they are generally being surveyed at a later point in their undergraduate career, and/or that they are more female and less under-represented than the rest of the test population. However, these results may also represent an opportunity to tap in to future teachers' interests and motivations and integrate sustainability more deeply into the curriculum of a population with tendencies in that direction.
Guiding Teachers to Implement an NGSS Aligned Curriculum Focused on Natural Phenomena and Engineering Scenarios
Kathy Browne, Rider University
Anne Catena, Princeton University
Cathlene Leary-Elderkin, Rider University
Wil van der Veen, Raritan Valley Community College
Carrie Tretola, Rider University
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) cleverly weave three dimensions of learning together to help K-12 teachers of science guide learners: science and engineering practices (SEPs), cross cutting concepts (XCCs), and disciplinary core ideas (DCIs). Implementing a three dimensional curriculum is a challenging task for teachers for several reasons whether done by revising old curricula or using a newly published product. Some difficult steps include: designing instruction that will guide learners to make sense of and use DCIs in the context of XCCs; selecting SEPs that can best support DCI and XCC learning; identifying natural phenomena or engineering scenarios that engage DCIs and XCCs; creating a series of three dimensional learning tasks that enable learners to complete a full learning cycle; and making XCCs and SEPs explicit in learning experiences. We have been guiding teachers from 18 districts to develop skills to revise and/or evaluate lessons for NGSS alignment. Teachers already introduced to the NGSS through other programs participated in a four day program stretched over seven months. The program included gradual orientation to the three dimensions as well as engineering DCIs, lesson revision, cross-grade team collaborations, and study of student learning artifacts. More NGSS experienced teachers have been exploring approaches to adding civic engagement in the sciences as a way to align with NGSS engineering expectations. A next for the lesson revision group is to explore how to assess three dimensional learning. A summary of our program will be presented and attendees will be engaged in developing a resource that helps teachers identify natural phenomena and engineering scenarios related to DCIs and XCCs.
Building Earth and Space Science Community Capacity for the Next Generation Science Standards
Susan Sullivan, The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
Aida Awad, Broward College South Campus
Ed Robeck, American Geosciences Institute
The Next Generation Science Standards offer an opportunity to teach Earth and space science in ways that are closer to how scientists practice, and more relevant to students and to societal issues. However, the level of scientific community involvement required to capitalize on this opportunity is high. Building on the relationships and results of the Summit Meeting on the Implementation of the NGSS at the State Level, this presentation proposes a set of mechanisms by which the NGSS Earth and space science community can support NGSS implementation at the national, state and local levels. Based on work with summit attendees, classroom teachers, informal educators and undergraduate faculty, this presentation describes opportunities to build a network of practitioners with shared communication, approaches and resources.
A Museum-based residency model for a Masters in Teaching Earth Science
Rosamond Kinzler, American Museum of Natural History
David Randle, American Museum of Natural History
To address the shortage of Earth science teachers in New York State (NYS), the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) launched a Masters of Teaching (MAT) program in 2012 with the aim of increasing the number of certified Earth science teachers. To date, 50 teachers have graduated from the program and most are engaged as full time teachers. With encouraging results from the pilot phase, the program has been institutionalized through authorization from the NY State Board of Regents to offer the MAT degree as part of the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. The fourth cohort of teachers will finish this summer and a fifth cohort of 15 candidates will begin. A major challenge is the recruitment of academically strong Earth science majors with the dispositions to be successful in high-need schools. The intensive 15-month curriculum comprises one summer of museum teaching residency, a full academic year of residency in high-needs public schools, one summer of museum teaching residency, a science research residency, and concurrent graduate-level courses in Earth and space sciences, pedagogy, and adolescent psychology. An emphasis is placed on field-based geological studies, experiential learning, and preparation to teach science based on the principles presented in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards. In an effort to ensure that MAT candidates have a robust knowledge base in Earth science, we selected teacher candidates with strong backgrounds in fields including geology, meteorology, space science, and paleontology, combined with demonstrated commitment to become Earth science teachers. This presentation will introduce this residency model of teacher preparation, present the program as a possible path for geoscience students interested in the teaching profession, and discuss some of what AMNH has learned from four cohorts of students, some who have been teaching in high-needs schools for three years.
Teaching inservice teachers with authentic data in an online environment
Eliza Richardson, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
An overarching goal of the Master of Education in Earth Sciences program at Penn State University is to expose excellent and enthusiastic teachers to primary scientific research in Earth science so they can master educational objectives and translate their own discoveries directly back to their classrooms. The Next Generation Science Standards emphasize a learning process that is much more closely aligned with the way scientists actually conduct research, but mid-career secondary teachers were often not given the opportunity in their preservice training to learn content knowledge or analysis techniques in an authentic way. Here I present the challenges and successes in using lab-type activities in an online asynchronous environment. Challenges include the upfront time it takes to create a lab including writing clear and concise directions, using photos or short videos to demonstrate the methods and making sure the activity does not require dangerous or expensive materials. Student feedback collected even several semesters later demonstrates that these activities are memorable and that teachers were quite often able to repurpose them for use in their own classrooms. Because many of the activities involve the collection, analyzation and interpretation of digital datasets made freely available by university scientists, teachers are exposed to authentic data and required to practice useful skills such as plotting and grappling with large data sets. In fact, in some regards the online asynchronous environment actually increased learning and retention because teachers participated in our courses during their own school year and many of them were able to use the lab-type activities immediately in their own classrooms, which is an advantage over a summer workshop.
Arkansas Adopts NGSS: Here's the How and What as of Now
Wendi J.W. Williams, Northwest Arkansas Community College
Michele Snyder, Arkansas Department of Education
Cathy Wissehr, University of Arkansas Main Campus
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe what students should know and be able to do in the sciences at all levels in the K-12 setting. Our community needs to engage and support educators at state and local pre-college levels and examine ways in which we may move our own practices closer to the vision outlined by NGSS. As a lead state, Arkansas has done just that! The current Science Standards for Arkansas were revised 2005 with revision slated 2011, but the State Board of Education agreed to delay until the 2013 release of NGSS. A committee of Arkansas teachers, administrators, scientists, professional developers, and Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) personnel worked throughout 2014-2015 to develop new K-4 and 5-8 science standards. After a 30-day public comment period, the Board approved the new standards for K-4 and 5-8 at their June 2015 session (triggering implementation fall 2016 and fall 2017, respectively). Work on high school standards began summer 2015 with teams of educators representing ADE, Math and Science Specialists from statewide Educational Cooperatives, 9-12 STEM faculty (many Advanced Placement), and higher education faculty from 2YC and 4YC STEM and Education/Teacher Preparation programs. As with the K-8 committee, sessions occurred four times for three days each over the following year. Our work has resulted in three main courses for all high school students (with embedded ESS), six career pathways courses (50% as ESS-dominated), and a number of electives, as well as Accelerated Model Course Pathways mapped from 5th into high school levels. It is anticipated that these science standards for Arkansas will be ready for public comment during late spring or summer and should go to the State Board before September 2016. After approval, implementation will begin in the fall of 2018.
Policy-Ready Citizen Science
Daniel Dickerson, East Carolina University
As part of a NOAA-funded project entitled, Policy-Ready Citizen Science, in Year 1 we planned and implemented three weeks of professional development for the teachers in Summer 2015. The first week the teachers met at Old Dominion University where they engaged in 3D printing, learning about 5E Learning Cycles, Problem-Based Learning, Environmental Issues in the Chesapeake Bay, and Water Quality Measurement. The Water Quality Measurement portion was led by James Beckley of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The teachers worked on lesson plans to pilot with students in weeks two and three. The focus of the lesson plans was using an AUV/glider that they would build to design a study and collect data about the Chesapeake Bay. The second week the teachers built a functioning AUV/glider using the SeaGlide design. Engineers from Naval Sea Systems Command helped lead the build. Each teacher brought two students with them so they could see that the students were able to do this type of work. Changing teacher attitudes about having students working with soldering irons and putting together electrical components was identified early as one of the key elements that needed to be addressed with the teachers. Every teacher successfully built an AUV/glider that they will keep for their classroom. The third week the teachers implemented the lessons they developed in week one and two with the rest of the group. Feedback was provided. They also practiced implementing the field portions of the AUV/glider complete with sensors to collect data regarding the scientific questions they developed. They also demonstrated the AUV/gliders, which was practice using them, to parents and children at the Children's Museum of Virginia. We will share lessons learned, including implementation within post-secondary environments.
Paired Teaching for Instructor Professional Development: Transferring Evidence-Based Pedagogies
Tara Holland, University of British Columbia
Paired teaching is defined as a model of co-teaching in which the teaching team consists of two or more instructors sharing the planning, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space in the classroom. This model has been used with success in teacher education and social work education settings, where an explicit benefit is modeling and developing collaborative skills for learners. There is limited literature on co-teaching in geoscience education, but a paired teaching model can potentially be used as a professional development tool for Instructors, with the goal of disseminating effective, evidence-based teaching practices between faculty members. Multiple courses in the Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Sciences department at the University of British Columbia have been "transformed" through the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) to incorporate best practices in instruction strategies; however, it is unclear to what degree these practices are transferred to instructors who were not a part of the course transformation team. We are investigating the potential of a paired teaching model (where an instructor who actively uses evidence-based practices is paired with either a new instructor, or one who has had limited exposure to such teaching practices) to achieve this dissemination. This work presents preliminary evidence of pedagogy transfer, based on classroom observations of 10 Instructors in paired teaching arrangements. Analysis of data from semi-structured interviews and weekly reflections done by instructors reveals the most effective roles that each instructor in the pair can play to facilitate this transfer. Benefits and challenges of paired teaching for professional development, as identified by the instructors who have taken part in the project to date, are outlined. Based on two years of research, recommendations are presented for how to achieve a successful pairing.
Measuring Student Learning Gains and attitudes in Earth and Environmental class for pre-service teachers after additional assignment to rocks and mineral identification lab
Matthew Schmus, Wright State University-Main Campus
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
Our goal as geosciences educators is to increase student learning and facilitate positive attitudes towards Earth science. This study measures the effects of a student project in Earth and Environmental Science Concepts I for Educators, a required class for Wright State University pre-service teachers. After they complete after the rock-and-mineral identification labs, the students research and present the common uses of a select mineral in society as groups. Students in each semester were graded mostly on developing a topic and critical thinking, along with grammar and citation. Fall semester pre/post-tests about geologic concepts and rocks and minerals show some learning gains, and the class average pre/post-test grade improved overall. These students reported that they gained moderate to good confidence levels and were less intimidated by geologic concepts after the assignment, but expressed little no interest or enthusiasm in taking more classes in geology. Fall semester projects had students work together to write a paper and presentation resulting in high grades with an average 95%, but it was evident from the presentations that some students participated more than others. In spring semester, students were required to write papers individually before creating presentations as small groups to increase student involvement. The average grade on the paper declined to 84%, but the contribution of each student to the presentation was visibly greater. Students felt little to moderate confidence before the assignment, according to preliminary spring-semester data. This study is important for the purpose of better learning in geology classes particularly for pre-service teachers who will want to also cultivate better learning in their own future classes.
Adapting InTeGrate Modules to the High School and College Classroom
Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman, Pasadena City College
David Thesenga, Alexander Dawson School
Participants will be introduced to InTeGrate modular materials developed to support geoscience literacy in introductory college courses. This workshop will discuss how to use these resources to address the challenges of instruction in both high schools and colleges. We will discuss issues such as: adapting and using the materials in a variety of classrooms, making use of the student learning outcomes and assessments, overcoming articulation issues, and building interest among colleagues.
Exploring the Use of Computational Models in Teaching Climate Change in K-12
AFTERNOON MINI WORKSHOP
Mark Chandler, Columbia University in the City of New York
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) require the teaching of science in a way that integrates the content with science and engineering practices (SEPs) and crosscutting concepts (CCs). Earth system and climate science are ideal areas for implementing an integrated approach to teaching because both involve complex systems and both require interdisciplinary content knowledge. However, this also requires teachers to develop an understanding of not only the SEPs and CCs, but also an understanding of a much broader range of content, if they are to effectively integrate these subjects into their teaching. In this workshop we will focus our attention on the SEP Developing and Using Models and in particular on the use of computational models. In the NGSS the term model is very broad, encompassing pictures and physical models, diagrams, conceptual models, analogies, mathematical representations, and computer simulation models. However, the use of computer simulation models represents a particular challenge. Depending on the complexity, there can be significant time required to learn how to operate the computer model and run simulations. There may also be numerous levels of underlying mathematical concepts behind complex computer models, and these may be necessary to understand if the goal is to teach students how such models are built, or how to interpret and analyze model output. All of which makes computer simulation models difficult to integrate effectively into teaching.