Monday B: Teacher Preparation, Professional Development and Policy Issues & Developing Geocompetencies

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 221

Session Chairs

Kim Cheek, University of North Florida
Diane Lally, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
1:30pm
Beyond the 3 Dimensions: Integrating Identity and Interest in NGSS Geoscience Investigations
Susan Meabh Kelly, Connecticut State Department of Education

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012) outlines research-informed ways to support more equitable engagement in science learning. This research suggests students should have opportunity to investigate issues of personal and community relevance, leveraging the diverse knowledge and skills they possess. In this way, science activities elicit and build upon students' prior interests and experiences, fostering students' identity as competent learners of science. This session outlines two high school geoscience investigations that are designed to fully reflect the framework's vision of "science for all".
1:45pm
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity in K-8 Science: The NGSS and Science Textbooks
Kim Cheek, University of North Florida

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An accurate conception of scale is important in all science disciplines, perhaps none more so than geoscience. While some geoscience processes and events occur at spatial, temporal, and numeric scales perceivable by humans, others occur at scales that are either too small/short or too large/long to be directly observable. Standards documents, including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGS) underscore the point that learning about scale in science is important for all students, not merely geoscience majors. The NGSS identifies scale, proportion, and quantity as one of seven crosscutting concepts (CCC) that function as lenses or tools to construct explanations about scientific phenomena throughout K-12 grades, not merely in high school. Unfortunately, teaching about scale has been made more difficult by the fact that researchers and practitioners have defined scale in multiple ways. Similarly, it is not entirely clear how the NGSS writers distinguish among the three aspects of the CCC nor precisely how they define the term scale. For the purpose of our research we have adopted two meanings of scale, the first as the spatial, temporal, or numeric magnitude of an object or event which could be measured in standard or nonstandard units. The second refers to the spatial, temporal, or numeric relationship between objects or events. While this includes formal proportional reasoning, scale as a relationship can also be expressed qualitatively. In this talk we describe our qualitative analysis of the use of the term scale as magnitude or a relationship in the NGSS connected to elementary and middle school level performance expectations in Earth and Space Science. We then examine how those meanings of scale are displayed in textbook images from several commonly used textbook series at those grade bands. Implications for K-8 classrooms as well as teacher preparation for K-8 teachers are discussed.
2:00pm
Model-Based Teaching and Learning about Earth's Climate: Two Secondary Teachers' Implementation of a Curriculum Unit
Kimberly Carroll Steward, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Devarati Bhattacharya, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Mark Chandler, Columbia University in the City of New York

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The Next Generation Science Standards (Next Generation Science Standards Lead States, 2013) and the Essential Principles for Climate Literacy (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2009) have helped advance teaching and learning about Earth's climate and global climate change (GCC) in the formal K-12 classrooms. However, teachers report feeling challenged in understanding of the complexity of Earth's climate system, feel underprepared to teach it, and describe instruction in this area as a low priority (Hestness et al, 2011; Plutzer et al., 2016). To address this need, we are engaged in a 4-year, NSF-funded project to support secondary science teachers to engage students in model-based learning about Earth's climate and GCC through implementation of a new, 4-week curriculum unit designed around an online, computer-based NASA global climate modeling tool. After developing the initial curriculum module in Year 1, we engaged in empirical research to answer two research questions: 1) In what ways do teachers implement the project curriculum? and 2) Why do they implement it in the ways that they do? Here, we report on qualitative analysis of data from classrooms of two secondary Earth science teachers who taught the pilot curriculum in Year 1. Findings illustrate three primary themes in the two teachers' implementation of the curriculum: student autonomy, lesson adaptation, and maintaining congruence among classes. Teacher 1 tended to promote student autonomy, adapt lessons, and change the structure of lessons class-by-class. In contrast, Teacher 2 limited student autonomy, adhered more closely to the written curriculum, and maintained congruence within all class periods. These observed differences were aligned with the teachers' general priorities for instruction, as well as self-efficacy with the curriculum and climate-related concepts. Study findings have important implications for curriculum design and secondary teachers' instruction to support students' learning about Earth's climate and GCC.
2:15pm
Come Out to Sea - It Will Change Your Life!
Sharon Cooper, Columbia University in the City of New York
Raquel Bryant, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Jonathan Lewis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
Lisa White, University of California Museum of Paleontology

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In efforts to address the lack of diversity across the geosciences, the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and STEM Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) program have worked to provide targeted ship-based research and training experiences aboard the JOIDES Resolution and across the U.S. academic fleet. These programs include the School of Rock professional development program for educators and STEMSEAS transit cruises for undergraduates. Both programs aim to take advantage of extra berth space available during transits and tie-ups to use the charismatic and adventurous qualities of these ships to attract a wide diversity of students towards the geosciences. It is the goal of both of these programs to use these introductory experiences to spark further interest and showcase pathways and careers available to all. Targeted recruiting focuses on participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including students of color, community college students, first generation students, and educators from areas of high diversity. A new program A-STEP, Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation (A-STEP), will run alongside these programs to provide transformative seagoing experience to cohorts of students interested in geoscience-related fields by drawing greater attention to the relevance of climate and environmental change for all citizens through development of educational storyboard and media shorts. These programs also provide opportunities for graduate student training and mentoring – opening up pathways for graduate students to develop their leadership skills, create helpful professional relationships through growing their networks, and pass along advice to younger students that is timely and relevant. This presentation will include research results garnered so far from these programs and share lessons learned and best practices. Opportunities to become involved going forward will be shared.
2:30pm
Break
2:45pm
High Water Rising: Science, Literature, and the Environment
Benjamin Atkinson, Flagler College
Hadley Mozer, Flagler College

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Flagler College is located on the Atlantic coast of the Florida peninsula, in the heart of historic St. Augustine, "America's Oldest City." Campus is just a five-minute walk from the Matanzas River inlet, where one can explore some of the country's longest standing architecture and observe exciting wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins and endangered green sea turtles. Unfortunately, the area faces increasing pressure from sea-level rise associated with climate change. We experienced significant flooding and damage to local homes during successive hurricanes in 2016 and 2017 (Matthew and Irma, respectively). Such modern challenges often require interdisciplinary solutions. A hallmark of Flagler College's First Year Experience is the Learning Community (LC), which pairs courses from different disciplines to enhance learning and stretch students beyond their majors. Second-semester freshmen dual-enroll in two courses that comprise their chosen LC. This helps students form a cohort of cooperation to aid individual progress throughout their degree programs. In this LC, students investigate the dynamic relationship between humanity and the natural world from several disciplinary perspectives, with special attention to the rising tide of environmental crisis. Along the way, students are introduced to a variety of environmental topics (e.g., ecosystems and biodiversity, human population growth, land use, water quality and management, nutrient cycles, energy consumption and alternatives, sustainability, climate change, etc.). They also conduct their own field research. Participants read and discuss selections from famous environmental writers (e.g., Thoreau, Muir, Austen, Carson, Abbey, Snyder, Berry, Dillard, Williams, et al.), and hone their academic writing skills. We have conducted this LC for three consecutive years, pairing Environmental Science with Environmental Literature. In this session we will share pedagogical strategies, setbacks and successes, and highlight student feedback and progress post-course completion.
3:00pm
The High Impact Practice of Undergraduate Research associated with a Two-Year Water Quality Monitoring Project in Northeast Florida
Matthew Brown, Flagler College

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As coastal populations and coastal development pressure increase, it is critical that coastal waters are monitored for potential changes in water quality due to any excavation or sediment removal project. In Spring 2016 the state of Florida approved $2.8M in funding to restore the Summerhaven River (south of Matanzas Inlet in northeast Florida) nearly eight years after a series of tropical storms and hurricanes breached the dune line and filled it with sand. The project began in January 2017 and as of late September 2017 the Summerhaven River was opened and flowing once again. As part of a funded, collaborative research effort between the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, the U. of Florida, and Flagler College, a two year, bi-monthly water quality monitoring effort was initiated in November 2016 and continued until October 2018, one year after the restoration project ended. While results will be presented that highlight the significant impact that natural storm events have on water quality as compared to a river restoration project, this presentation will also highlight the high-impact practice of undergraduate research as experiential student learning. The research presented was largely carried out through several undergraduate research assistantships within the Coastal Environmental Sciences major program at Flagler College, an undergraduate teaching college in northeast Florida. Students with little-to-no previous research experience were trained in both field and analytical techniques for the analysis of chlorophyll-A, major nutrients, turbidity, and total suspended solids. A number of these students presented this work at local and regional conferences and the cumulative research experience would be best described as transformative and inspiring.
3:15pm
Sociohydrologic System Thinking: Student Operationalization, Evaluation, and Model PMC Analysis
Diane Lally, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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One of the keys to science and environmental literacy is systems thinking. Learning how to think about the interactions between systems, the far-reaching effects of a system, and the dynamic nature of systems are all critical outcomes of science learning. However, students need support to develop systems thinking skills in undergraduate geoscience classrooms. While systems thinking-focused instruction has the potential to benefit student learning, gaps exist in our understanding of the links between undergraduate students' systems thinking about Earth systems, particularly their metacognitive evaluation of systems thinking. To address this need, we have designed, implemented, refined, and studied an introductory-level, interdisciplinary course focused on coupled human-water, or socio-hydrologic, systems. Data for this study comes from three consecutive iterations of the course and involves student models and explanations for a socio-hydrologic issue (n=163). To analyze this data, we applied an operationalization rubric to the written responses and counted themed features of the drawn models. Preliminary analyses of the written explanations reveal statistically-significant differences between underlying categories of systems thinking, F (3, 172)=2.66, p<0.05. Students were best able to operationalize their systems thinking about implementation challenges (M=2.07 SD=0.97) as compared to stakeholder awareness (M=1.20, SD=0.79), t(43)=-6.33, p<0.05, and unintended consequences (M=1.86, SD=1.05), t(43)=-4.14, p<0.05. Student-generated systems thinking models focused most strongly on system components (M=11.44, SD=4.09) as compared to related processes or mechanisms F(2, 132)=3.06, p<0.05. This indicates that students were most likely to include components in their models, but also included system processes and mechanisms. These findings have implications for supporting systems thinking in undergraduate geoscience classrooms, as well as insight into links between these two skills.
3:30pm
Preparation for Geoscience Fieldtrips: The benefits of field training for confidence
Paul Ashwell, University of Toronto Mississauga
Alison Jolley, University of British Columbia
Jacqueline Dohaney, Victoria University of Wellington

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Fieldtrips are often one of the foundations of a geoscience undergraduate degree, and are at the core of many degree programs. In undergraduate courses taught prior to fieldtrips, students are taught skills in observation and interpretation which are then applied in the field. Additionally, field pedagogies aim to mirror field-based scenarios that students will face in future research or industry careers. However, feedback from students indicates that fieldtrips are also highly stressful; students often feel that they have to work long hours in order to complete an integrated mapping or data collection assignment within strict time limits. Students may not know what to expect from a fieldtrip, and as a result their confidence in the initial stages of a trip is low. Also, students describe feeling unprepared approaching their first large fieldtrip experience even after their laboratory-based pre-field training. To improve confidence and preparation, we developed a one-day fieldtrip "boot camp" to introduce students to basic field concepts in an authentic setting that closely emulates the exercises they would do on the fieldtrip. The purpose of the boot camp was: (1) to improve self-efficacy and (2) to reduce the cognitive load generated by novel experiences at the start of the fieldtrip. Here, we present our initial findings on student self-efficacy by introducing the bootcamp and other innovations we are using to support field-based learning. We show that, while some aspects of preparedness benefitted from the boot camp (such as confidence in collecting field data), other aspects were diminished due to reduced follow up lab time (such as interpretation of field data). This suggests that field training of geological skills should occur alongside more traditional laboratory teaching methods.
3:45pm
Discussion