Support Future Teachers in Learning about Earth
(Fulp, 2002). Perhaps surprisingly, many secondary teachers who teach Earth science also have a relatively limited background in Earth science: 29% of secondary Earth science teachers have only had 1-2 semester-long courses in Earth science (Weiss, 2002).
For the vast majority of these, the single Earth science course they take is an introductory geoscience course that counts (typically) as a general education requirement. Our introductory and general education courses may therefore be the only opportunity that future teachers have to learn about Earth.
Design your Course to Support Future TeachersLearn more about expert ways
of thinking about Earth »Teachers need both content knowledge and teaching knowledge and skills (pedagogical knowledge). But the pedagogy, or teaching methods, can vary based on the discipline and content. As a result, pedagogical content knowledge, or teaching methods that are tailored to a specific discipline, is another important component of successful teaching. There are several ways to think about how you can support the development of pedagogical content knowledge in your courses:
Offer a special discussion and/or lab section
In a large introductory course, you may have enough students to warrant creating a special discussion or lab group for students majoring in education. During discussion or lab periods, work with the students to help them transfer what they've learned to their future classroom, and help them practice the methods specific to the geosciences. Kyle Gray at the University of Northern Iowa has written an essay on teaching geoscience methods to preservice teachers that offers excellent advice.
Develop an introductory course specifically for pre-service teachers
Focus the course content on what is covered by the relevant standards. Try to limit the course size to 20-30 students and make use of the same investigative, inquiry-based, and group-learning techniques that they will use in their own classrooms in the future.
- Browse descriptions of introductory geoscience courses designed for pre-service teachers.
- Browse ideas for teaching geoscientific thinking to pre-service teachers.
- The following InTeGrate-developed modules were developed for implementation in courses with pre-service teachers:
- Exploring Geoscience Methods, intended for secondary science methods courses
- Interactions between Water, Earth's Surface, and Human Activity, intended for Earth science content courses for elementary education majors
- Soils, Systems, and Society, intended for elementary science methods courses
- Browse activities submitted by participants in the 2007 workshop on geoscience courses that prepare future teachers.
Faculty in the Grand Valley State Implementation Program designed a new program and two new methods courses to prepare secondary science teachers, all focused on integrating science content with teaching methodology. A key aspect of their work was collaborating with faculty at nearby two-year colleges.
Twelve representatives from a consortium of Washington State institutes of higher education (IHEs) in partnership with Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and other key stakeholders proposed a pathway to improving science learning and Earth literacy for all Washington State students by creating a shared vision of STEM teacher preparation in Washington State aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and utilizing InTeGrate guiding principles and strategies.
Mercer University aims to increase the number of K-8 teachers in Georgia who incorporate Earth literacy in their classrooms by incorporating examples of regional environmental sites into InTeGrate assignments in order to link their lives more directly to sustainability issues.
- Explore resources for teaching introductory courses.
- Explore resources for teaching geoscience habits of mind.
- Explore resources for supporting pre-service or in-service teachers
- Cervato et al., 2013, The Big Crunch: A Hybrid Solution to Earth and Space Science Instruction for Elementary Education Majors
- Fulp, Sherri L., 2002, Status of Elementary School Science Teaching , Horizon Research, Inc.
- Johnson and Rutherford, 2010 Transfer of Knowledge in Science Courses for Elementary Education Majors
- Weiss, Iris R. 2002, Status of Secondary Earth Science Teaching , Horizon Research, Inc.
- Watch the screencast from this September 2017 webinar: Using InTeGrate Materials in K-8 Teacher Preparation
- Watch the screencast from this June 2016 webinar: Transforming Teacher Preparation to Teach for Sustainability