Initial Publication Date: April 11, 2006

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)( - Link Broken).
  • 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 hosted an e-conference about the funding of Math and Science Partnerships run through NSF and the Department of Education. A primary issue that arose involved the participation of university science and mathematics faculty in these partnerships.

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 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.

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.

Become Familiar with National Science Education Reforms