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Strengthening Earth Science in K-8 Teacher Preparation Programs

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Workshop Description

Earth science is increasingly relevant to many aspects of our society, and have become a much larger component of new national science standards. Yet many future K-8 teachers have limited opportunities to learn Earth science in a way that prepares them to effectively engage in Earth science teaching in their own classrooms. How can science programs and teacher preparation programs work together to do a better job of supporting the development of Earth science literacy—what teachers should know and be able to do—for these students who will go into a K-8 classroom?

This workshop is designed for faculty and administrators involved in K-8 teacher preparation programs as well as science programs that include and/or support geoscience teaching. It is appropriate for faculty who teach introductory geoscience courses, general education science courses (including faculty at two-year colleges), science methods courses, and other courses that engage future teachers, as well as the program directors and advisors who work with future K-8 teachers. This workshop will facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration necessary for future teachers to build their own skills and confidence in teaching Earth science that is engaging and relevant for their students.

The outcomes of this workshop will include a better understanding of how individuals and programs across many disciplines contribute to K-8 teacher preparation, and how those contributions align with the needs of future teachers and their required competencies. Participants will make use of that new understanding to develop action plans that are specific to their role and their campus.

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Goals

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Define their diverse and complementary roles in K-8 teacher preparation programs;
  • Build collaborations and administrative structures that support strong Earth science in K-8 teacher preparation programs;
  • Assess alignment between science standards, required competencies, program goals, and course offerings;
  • Create personal and program-level action plans to strengthen Earth science teaching in the context of their institution and region.
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