GP-EXTRA: Preparing GeoSTEM Teachers for the Arctic Region (GeoSTEM)
High teacher turnover, single subject teacher qualifications, and irrelevant geoscience curricula are variables that prevent effective teaching of geoscience in Alaska's K-12 schools. With the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) more rigorous geoscience curricula requirements are forthcoming and better-qualified and more effective Earth Science teachers are needed. This is especially essential for rural Alaska, where unemployment is high and where indigenous student populations have traditionally been under-served.
This three-year project implements mentored teaching experiences in remote rural villages to increase the number of Earth Science teachers in Alaska and targets the overall interest in geoscience careers of undergraduate and pre-college students (K-12).
The project objectives are:
(1) Development of a multilayered, sustainable recruitment program with focus on diversity participation in geosciences.
(2) Development and implementation of a university-based, 3 credit GeoSTEM course that count towards both, UAF undergraduate geoscience and education degrees.
(3) Implementation of mentored Earth/geoscience teaching experiences for GeoSTEM participants in indigenous rural schools that includes pre-college career education for geosciences.
(4) Research and evaluation of the effectiveness of the program elements.
The project's interdisciplinary team from the University of Alaska School of Education (UAF-SOE), the UAF College of Natural Science & Mathematics (CNSM), the University of Alaska Museum of the North (UAM), and the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) in collaboration with Alaska's rural school districts will create and evaluate a multilayered recruitment and training program to increase the number of qualified and effective GeoSTEM teachers. Participants will increase their understandings about: (a) the interdisciplinary nature of GeoSTEM contents; (b) place-relevant and hands on geoscience teaching practices; and (c) careers in geosciences and teaching.
Secondary preservice teacher participants (cohorts of 4 in year one, 8 in year two, and 8 in year three) will be prepared by a university-based GeoSTEM course to master geoscience concepts, learn about geoscience career paths, and develop place-based teaching strategies.
After successful completion of the preparatory GeoSTEM course, pre-service teachers will fly to rural villages during the spring semester and teach geoscience lessons to Native students (grade 7-12) during a one- to four-week-long field teaching practicum.
The project supports Earth Science teacher recruitment, effectiveness, retention, and equity in access to education for indigenous and rural students. The project adds to the visibility of the geosciences and education programs in rural Alaska villages and helps build a pipeline into geoscience careers for indigenous students.
While the focus of this project is on increasing the number of Earth Science teachers, pre-college K-12 students will also benefit by hands on data collection and geoscience career education.
The project team shares results with UA undergraduate research departments, Native communities, and school districts targeted by the project, and at conferences.
This three-year project implements mentored teaching experiences in remote rural Alaska villages to increase the number of Earth Science teachers in Alaska and targets the overall interest in geoscience careers of undergraduate and pre-college students (K-12).
- Overcoming the single subject focused knowledge of undergraduate per-service science teachers teacher candidates (most are Bio with little knowledge of interdisciplinary science content)
- Developing a collaborative approach to teacher education between rural, remote school districts and the University based teacher education program
- Overcoming institutional inertia in field based science teacher education
N/A (Program start was August 2015)