Teachers near and far join students in quest to educate about Earth

August 06, 2009

Fourteen middle school and high school teachers, three graduate students, and four undergraduate students are currently working hard at Penn State Brandywine on a graduate workshop/course utilizing inquiry-based pedagogies for teaching students about the Earth as a system. The project began Aug. 3 and will conclude on Aug. 11.

Penn State Brandywine, in conjunction with University Park, is partnering with University of New Hampshire (UNH), Dillard University (DU), and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) on a $5 million NSF-GEO Teach grant on Transforming Earth System Science Education (TESSE). This is the third year of the grant, but the first time a summer program is being held on Brandywine’s campus.

As part of the UNH GEO-Teach project, participants will address the need for highly qualified teachers in the geosciences by developing a comprehensive plan to transform geoscience education at the middle and high school levels, according to an official document outlining the project. The program will bolster existing preparation programs for pre-service teachers to include mentoring and networking with in-service teachers and bona-fide research experiences in Earth system science. In addition, in-service teachers will participate in an enrichment program that includes a research and curriculum component that supports development of inquiry-based classroom activities integrating all aspects of Earth system science.

Tanya Furman (a geosciences major at the University Park campus) and Laura Guetin, associate professor of Earth and mineral sciences, are workshop leaders, and Tim Lawlor, associate professor of physics, is assisting with an astronomy exercise.

Rising Brandywine sophomore Sara Neville was selected to participate in the workshop as she continues to pursue her major in secondary education. The participating teachers are from schools mostly in the Philadelphia region, though there are a few teachers attending from Delaware, Michigan, North Carolina and Kentucky.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 10, 2009