Ways to Learn More about How Scientists Can Help Improve Science Education
Created by Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Ph.D., SERC, Carleton College.
How Can Scientists Participate in the Professional Development of Teachers?
- The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES at University of Colorado, Boulder) has a fantastic website devoted to "Resources for Scientists Participating in Education (ReSciPE)" ( This site may be offline. ) .
- The Space Science Institute also hosts a wonderful website consisting of Resources for Scientists in Education and Public Outreach. In particular, "The Diversity of Roles for Scientists in K-14 Education and Public Outreach" is an excellent short paper highlighting a variety of roles that scientists can play in education ranging in commitment levels.
- "The Role of Scientists in the Professional Development of Science Teachers" is available for reading online through the National Academies Press. It is written as a guidebook for scientists interested in creating, running and maintaining professional development programs for teachers.
- "Science Education Partnerships; A Manual for Scientists and K-12 Teachers" (Sussman, Art (Editor) San Francisco: University of California. 1993.) describes how to implement partnerships between universities and schools. 35 articles written from a number of different perspectives highlight current efforts in this area.
- "Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology" discusses the need for more active scientist and department participation in the professional development of science teachers.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article (more info) and hosted an e-conference about the funding of Math and Science Partnerships run through NSF and the Department of Education (more info) . A primary issue that arose involved the participation of university science and mathematics faculty in these partnerships.
- Many national geoscience conferences have included sessions on how scientists can work with the professional development of teachers.
Participate in a Scientist-Educator Workshop
The majority of national science conferences hold workshops that bring together educators and scientists to discuss current education-related issues. Also, most conferences have oral and poster sessions devoted to education-related issues.
There are also national workshops that work to bring together scientists and educators for intense discussion and exploration of common issues.
- The Space Science Institute offers workshops for scientists (more info) including their annual "K-12 Education Workshop for Scientists, Engineers, and E/PO Professionals" bringing together a broad range of scientists to learn about how they can participate in education and public outreach.
- The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) program (University of Colorado, Boulder) offers workshops for scientists interested in learning more about K-12 education: Scientific Inquiry in the K-12 Classroom ( This site may be offline. ) .
Join/Support Organizations that Support Teachers
There are many national organizations that support science teachers. Often a membership to these organizations includes a journal or other mailing dealing with current issues of science education, as well as connections to other faculty across the nation who are involved in science education programs. These organizations provide ideas, inspiration and support for science teachers, science educators and scientists interested in education. In addition, many states have local or regional science teacher or earth science teacher associations.
- National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA)
- National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
- National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) (more info)
Become Familiar with National Science Education Reforms
- The National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996 ) recommend reforms in science education from teacher preparation through science content. In particular, standards for the professional development of teachers are included (Chapter 4) and call for scientists to be active and involved in this process.
- AAAS/NSTA Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy
- NSTA, 2003, NSTA Teacher Preparation Standards, 2003 (pdf download) (more info)
- NCATE Standards for Professional Development Schools (pdf download) (more info)