Education Brief 02-12: TERC/AGI Earth Science by Design Program
Point of Contact: For further information and to apply, contact Harold McWilliams, Project
Director, at email@example.com, phone (617) 873-9673.
Web site: http://www.terc.edu
TERC and AGI have just been funded by the National Science Foundation for the Earth Science by Design Program. It is a full-year professional development program for middle school teachers in Earth science. They are accepting applications now. Please pass this information on to any teachers you know who might be interested. Here is their announcement about the program:
"I know we covered it, but they didn't learn.
"I don't think they really understand, even though they passed the test.
"I know there is a lot of Earth science material "out there" on the web but I just don't see how to use it in my classes.
"I'm overwhelmed by the amount of material I have to teach in Earth science. There's so much to cover! The kids seem to get lost in all the details. How do I figure out what to emphasize?
"I have lots of great activities but I'm not sure they are helping the kids really learn the big ideas in the Standards and the Frameworks. I'd like some help in figuring this out."
If these are your questions and you teach Earth science content in grades 6, 7, or 8, you may want to apply for the Earth Science by Design program, a Teacher
Enhancement project funded by the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to help middle school teachers
1. Teach so that students understand the "big ideas" in Earth and space science
2. Design assessments that reveal student understanding of the big ideas
3. Use web-based computer visualizations to teach and assess the big ideas
Carried out by TERC and the American Geological Institute, the year-long program begins with a two-week summer institute August 5-16, 2002, in the Boston area. Teachers will study the big ideas in Earth system science, discover how scientists use satellite images from NASA, NOAA, and USGS to study the Earth system, learn to design effective assessments in Earth science, and learn to use web-based satellite images and computer animations in classroom learning. Participants will receive a stipend of $750 and 80 PDP units for successfully completing the institute.
Teachers will be expected to implement at least one new unit during the fall semester of 2002 and to allow project staff to observe this teaching in their classroom. Teachers will also be asked to observe the teaching of one other participant and to have their own teaching observed by a fellow teacher.
During November of 2002 and February of 2003 teachers will attend a two-day mini-conference to share the results of their implementation of the new ideas and to build their community of support.
Teachers will be supported by TERC project staff as they implement the new methods in their classroom. Part of the project is to create a community of teachers that support each other after the project winds down. To support this community, TERC will provide a web site and listserv that teachers can use to continue building their community after the first year. A second cohort of teachers will be recruited for the summer 2004 institute and will join the growing community of teachers who ?teach for understanding.?
Teachers and schools will receive strong support from this TERC and AGI project. In return, teachers applying to the program must be willing to be active
participants in a research and development project, working with project staff to provide feedback and observations that will improve the program and its materials so that at the end of the
project they can be disseminated to a national audience.
1. High degree of interest and enthusiasm for this work!
2. Massachusetts certified teacher in grade 6, 7, or 8
3. At least two years of teaching experience by summer 2002
4. Currently assigned to teach Earth science content
5. Ability to participate in the two-week summer institute, summer 2002
6. Willing to allow research staff to observe their classroom implementation
7. Commitment to attend the mini-conference in November 2002 and February 2003
8. Official administrative approval for two release days of professional development in November 2003 and two in February 2004
9. Access to the Internet at home and in school with a reasonably fast computer
10. Access to Internet-connected computers for classroom instruction, e.g. computer lab or projection system
AGU Education Briefs are distributed every few weeks. If you would like to be added to the AGU Education Briefs mailing list, you can register at http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/edu_BRIEFSreg.html
Dr. Jill L. Karsten
Manager, Education and Career Services
American Geophysical Union
2000 Florida Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 777-7508 (voice)
(202) 328-0566 (fax)