BSCS Seeks Teacher-Collaborators for Research Project Funded by the National Science Foundation

  • Reviewing applications now for 35 grades 9-12 science teachers to field test an online graduate course for teachers
  • Project goal is to enhance teaching and learning of energy concepts
  • Application deadline: 31 March 2013
  • Sue Kowalski, Project Director

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Teacher-collaborators will field test a 3-credit, online, graduate-level course designed to enhance teachers’ knowledge and practice related to energy concepts. The course is titled Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT). Teacher-collaborators and their students will take part in a research study designed to measure the effects of the course on teacher practice and student learning. The online professional development course will address three major energy concepts in six units. The first unit will investigate the generation of electrical energy from coal, and units two and three will investigate the generation of electrical energy using alternative energy sources (nuclear, solar, biofuels, wind, and geothermal energy). The three crosscutting concepts addressed are Conservation of Energy, Using a Systems Approach to Understand Energy, and Efficiency of Energy Transformations.

The units will include instruction on teaching energy concepts to students with an emphasis on student thinking and maintaining coherent science content storylines. The course will make extensive use of analyzing teaching through videocases.

BSCS is developing the EMAT course in collaboration with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) of Montana State University, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC).

We are developing the course with the best approaches to teacher learning in mind. These approaches emphasize constructing understanding from evidence and situating learning in the highly relevant classroom context. As such, teachers will be able to enhance their conceptual understanding while simultaneously enhancing their ability to teach energy concepts to their students.

Participation in this project will require a commitment from teachers spanning two academic years with the following timeline and tasks:

September - December 2013

 

  • Teachers will collect parental consent forms from students.
  • Teachers will film themselves teaching a topic.
  • Teachers will administer a pretest and posttest to their students.
June - August 2014
  • Teachers will take the online graduate-level course over 10 weeks  There will be synchronous and asynchronous time requirements in the course.
September - December 2014
  • Teachers will collect parental consent forms from students.
  • Teachers will film themselves teaching the same topic they filmed the previous year.
  • Teachers will administer a pretest and posttest to their students.

BSCS will select 35 teacher-collaborators from across the country to participate in the course and the associated research. Teachers who work with students from racial or ethnic groups typically underrepresented in the sciences will be given first priority.

BSCS will provide teachers a $400 stipend: $200 after receipt of the tests and video from year 1, and $200 after receipt of the tests and video from year 2. Teachers will also be able to earn 3 graduate credits through Montana State University’s National Teacher Enhancement Network. Teachers will be required to pay a deposit in order to participate in the course, but this deposit is fully refundable provided that teachers complete all course requirements.

 


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1118643. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.