Essays by Workshop Participants

In May, 2003, there was a small, invitation-only workshop in Washington D.C., sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The purpose of the workshop was to bring together geoscience faculty, teachers, and members of schools of education to discuss how geoscience departments can assist in the development of an increasing number of well-trained Earth Science teachers. Each participant was asked to write an essay highlighting the ways in which their institution or department contributes to this goal, as well as the challenges they face. Essays deal with any or all of the following:

  • Recruiting, mentoring and advising future teachers
  • The role of introductory courses in teacher preparation
  • Research and teaching experiences for future teachers
  • Links between education and geoscience departments

Download and print all essays. (Acrobat (PDF) 460kB Jan30 04)
Go to original workshop website.

Read individual essays:

Dan Barstow, TERC

TERC's Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) creates innovative materials for Earth and space science education, featuring science as inquiry.

Celeste Carty, Science Magnet School, Minneapolis

Crossroads School, an elementary science magnet school in Minneapolis, participates in several NASA programs for schools.

Robert Cichowski, California State University

The CSU system is revising its teacher preparation programs in response to new academic content standards and forecasts of future shortages of science teachers.

Sue DeBari, Western Washington University

The Science, Math, and Technology Education Program (SMATE) offers high quality teacher preparation including preservice, inservice, and outreach components with multiple entry points and three Geology majors designed specifically for teachers.

Allan Feldman, University of Massachusetts

The Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) provides six licensure tracks for preservice teachers, most of whom are M.Ed students with a B.S. in a science discipline.

Steve Good, West Chester University, Pennsylvania

WCU is a large state university where half of the Geology/Astronomy majors are preservice teachers. Programs are constrained by mandates from many stakeholders, local to national.

Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The School of Natural Resources sponsors a course for preservice elementary and middle school teachers. The course has an Earth Systems focus and is consistent with state and national science standards.

Karen Grove, San Francisco State University

Geoscience faculty have collaborated with Education faculty to obtain funding for two interdisciplinary courses for preservice teachers. Planetary Climate Changes (meteorology, oceanography, geology) is aimed at high school science teachers. Investigating Air, Sea and Land Interactions is aimed at elementary and middle school teachers.

Karen Havholm, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire

The Geology department, along with collaborators, offers a lab-oriented Earth Science course for preservice elementary and middle school teachers. The course models educational "best practices" and focuses on the relevance of Earth Science to students' lives.

Jackie Huntoon, Michigan Tech University

A new program for preservice secondary Earth Science teachers leading to a teaching credential and a B.S. in Geology is housed in the Geology department. Teacher professional development is also offered.

Carl Katsu, Fairfield High School, Fairfield PA; president, NESTA

The National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) helps teachers access professional development opportunities provided by universities and relevant governmental agencies.

Tom Lindsay, Portland State University

Teacher preparation occurs at the graduate level at PSU; secondary science teachers include both geology and science education majors. The Geology department at PSU offers Earth and Space Science courses specifically for preservice elementary and middle school teachers, and collaborates with the Graduate Teacher Education Program to provide a range of support for teachers.

Rusty Low, University of Minnesota

Science CentrUM functions as a link between University resources and the science education needs of K-12 teachers in Minnesota at both preservice and inservice levels.

John Madsen, University of Delaware

The Geology department offers an Earth Science content course for elementary teachers and is participating in an NSF-funded "Science Semester" project that integrates earth science, life science, physical science and science methods courses for elementary preservice teachers.

Steve Mattox, Grand Valley State University

The Geology department offers three majors, two of which are teaching majors which involve two-thirds of the department's students. A new course, Earth Science in Secondary Education, includes a research component and a project where students design event-based inquiry lessons.

Randy McGinnis, University of Maryland

In Maryland, Earth Science is taught at the middle school level. Earth science teachers typically have either an elementary certification with a science concentration, a double major in Education and Geology, or an undergraduate Earth Science degree with an education-related master's degree.

Ellen Metzger, San Jose State University

The Geology department at San Jose State offers a B.A. in Earth Science for preservice secondary teachers. Professional development opportunities include an on-line course in Earth System Science through a grant from the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA).

Ron Narode, Portland State University

A recent change in preservice science teacher education includes a focus on science and math instruction in all courses leading to licensure. Education faculty and science faculty work closely on teacher education and advising, grant-writing, and professional development initiatives.

Monica Ramirez, AIMS Community College

An NSF grant to a collaboration of community colleges supports the recruitment and education of "diverse and rural" students in science, math, and technology teaching.

Cassandra Runyon, College of Charleston

The Geology department at CofC contributes to a graduate teaching program for Geology majors as well as inservice geology education. It is also working with the State to develop a secondary Earth Science teaching degree program.

Randy Sachter, Nederland Elementary School, Boulder CO

Elementary teachers are generally underprepared in science content and have limited time to teach it; teachers should be prepared to integrate science with "core" subjects such as reading in order to save time.

Leslie Sautter, College of Charleston

Education majors at CofC take three semesters of introductory science. Alternative, inquiry-based intro courses are being developed that would target preservice teachers. Science faculty are concerned about "rigor" in such courses.

Mary Savina, Carleton College

Preservice Earth Science teachers earn a Geology major, usually completing their student teaching after graduation. Carleton has many informal opportunities for students to explore education; many complete graduate teacher preparation programs elsewhere.

Nate Shotwell, Mills E. Godwin High School, Richmond VA

There are a variety of paths to Earth Science teaching, and higher education can support teachers at many points. Assigning excellent teachers to introductory courses will help recruit teacher candidates, but support of practicing teachers is equally important.

William Slattery, Wright State University, Dayton OH

Ohio has recently mandated proficiency testing for K-12 students in science, based on the National Science Education Standards. This change made Earth/Space Science a required content area for the first time, presenting many challenges.

Cathy Summa, Winona State University

Winona State prepares Earth Science teachers at three levels: elementary, middle school general science, and high school specialists. A three-semester integrated science course for elementary preservice teachers integrates content and pedagogy, modeling "best practices". Earth Science teaching majors complete research projects on a scientific problem which is then translated into an inquiry-based curriculum unit.

Richard Yuretich, University of Massachusetts

Departmental involvement in K-12 education is not explicit; secondary level preservice Earth Science teachers pursue a Geology major, and elementary level teachers usually take only Intro courses. These and other factors conspire to keep education low on the priority list of most faculty.