Eos, Vol. 90, No. 1, 6 January 2009
Helping Scientists Become Effective Partners [Bransford et al., 1999] and engage in hands-
on, minds- on activities that provide firsthand
in Education and Outreach experiences of inquiry-based science.
Drawing on the dual definitions of inquiry
Page 3 A ReSciPE for Success in the National Academy’s National Science
Education Standards [see Olson and Loucks-
Training in education and communication Horsley, 2000], the workshop shows scien-
How does a scientist find herself stand- is becoming more available to undergradu- tists how their own deep understanding of
ing before a group of lively third-graders? ate and graduate students in the sciences. investigation is a crucial resource to share
She may be personally motivated—seeking However, most working scientists today did with nonscientists. Through activities such as
to improve public understanding of scien- not have access to such training. Most have the “black box” [Delta Education, 2008] and
tific issues and the nature of science, or to little knowledge of school curricula, stan- the “Mystery of the Iceman” [Biological Sci-
see her own children receive a good science dards, and best practices in science edu- ences Curriculum Studies, 2006], workshop
education—or perhaps she simply enjoys cation, or of the issues that face teachers participants see examples that show science
this kind of work [Andrews et al., 2005; Kim and schools. They may not know how to as a process of developing knowledge that
and Fortner, 2008]. select age-appropriate topics or adjust pre- emphasizes gathering evidence and testing
In addition to internal motivating fac- sentation styles for nontechnical audiences. alternate explanations. According to inter-
tors, federal funding agencies have begun These gaps in understanding can inhibit views with scientists, the “inquiry wheel”
to encourage scientists to participate in edu- communication with students, teachers, and [Reiff et al., 2002; Harwood, 2004] (see Fig-
cation and outreach (E/O) related to their the public [Kim and Fortner, 2007; Tanner ure 1) graphically summarizes this process in
research, through NASA program require- et al., 2003], thus diminishing the impact of a more realistic manner than the traditional,
ments for such activities (see “Implementing the time and resources scientists invest in linear scientific method. In their E/O work,
the Office of Space Science Education/Public E/O. Conversely, feeling that their work has scientists can foster understanding of the
Outreach Strategy,” at http://spacescience a positive impact contributes to the likeli- nature of science by emphasizing the intellec-
.nasa.gov/admin/pubs/edu/imp_plan.htm) hood that scientists will persist in E/O work tual and social processes of science and by
and the U.S. National Science Foundation’s [Andrews et al., 2005]. engaging audiences in question posing and
increased emphasis on “broader impacts” ReSciPE seeks to address this issue by puzzle solving, rather than emphasizing only
in merit review of research proposals (see offering professional development opportu- the final answers obtained.
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2003/nsf032/ nities to working scientists who are engaged Also developed in the workshop is the
bicexamples.pdf). Universities, laboratories, in education. In the past 3 years, more than idea of inquiry as a teaching and learning
and large collaboratives have responded by 400 scientists and their education collabora- strategy for addressing the “big ideas” of
developing E/O programs that include inter- tors have attended 18 workshops given across the Earth, space, life, and physical sciences.
action between students, teachers, and the the United States at scientific laboratories and Through video clips from a master physics
public in schools; after- school and summer conferences. Our typical workshop partici- teacher’s classroom [WGBH, 2000], partici-
programs; and work through science centers, pant is a research scientist in a government pants see how students can develop a solid
planetaria, aquaria, and museums. lab or university who participates in E/O for understanding of difficult concepts in optics
The need is large: Most citizens are inter- a few hours each month. Many graduate stu- by engaging with a question, examining and
ested but ill informed about science. Mak- dents and postdocs also attend. evaluating evidence, and drawing and pre-
ing wise decisions about daunting soci- ReSciPE’s introductory workshop, “Sci- senting conclusions. Scientists can use simi-
etal and environmental problems requires entific Inquiry in the Classroom,” focuses lar approaches to teach scientific concepts
understanding both scientific concepts and on inquiry as a best practice in science in their classroom and outreach work.
the limits of scientific knowledge. Scientists education that scientists can both under-
can assist by offering expertise, data, equip- stand and enhance by drawing on their own A Framework for Professional Development
ment, and other resources; by advocating experience of investigation [Thiry et al.,
for strong science education in the schools; 2008]. Participants consider the educa- Evaluation results from surveys and inter-
and by sharing exciting and true stories tional research base that supports inquiry- views show that ReSciPE workshop partici-
of exploration, discovery, and persistence based approaches to teaching and learning pants leave with increased willingness to
[Bybee and Morrow, 1998]. Scientists who
are college instructors have additional roles
in encouraging talented students to pursue
science and engineering and in strengthen-
ing the science preparation of future teach-
ers. For these reasons, effective participation
in education and outreach is an increasingly
important professional expectation of sci-
entists, one that requires specialized skills
and knowledge but for which most scientists
have little preparation.
Many projects—a list too lengthy to
review here—have developed local exper-
tise and specific models for involving sci-
entists in education. A new program,
Resources for Scientists in Partnership with
Education (ReSciPE), has sought a more
general empirical understanding of how best
to engage and prepare scientists for such
work through a twofold strategy: offering
professional development opportunities to
working scientists who are engaged in edu-
cation, and then studying these scientists to Fig 1.The inquiry wheel, an alternative to the linear scientific method. Image from Harwood
learn how to better support their E/O work. , redrawn from Reiff et al. .
Eos, Vol. 90, No. 1, 6 January 2009
participate in education, better understand- collaborative opportunities, and pub- Kim, C., and R. W. Fortner (2008), Great Lakes sci-
ing of inquiry as an effective practice in sci- lic support from higher administrators to entists’ perspectives on K-12 education collabora-
ence education, and greater awareness encourage continued involvement in E/O. tion, J. Great Lakes Res., 34, 98–108.
of other learning that would benefit their Such a framework can be applied when Laursen, S. L., H. Thiry, and A.-B. Hunter (2008),
Professional development for education-engaged
E/O work. The workshop does not prepare E/O providers plan targeted professional
scientists: A research-based framework, in EPO
scientists to participate in a specific E/O development to support their own local and a Changing World: Creating Linkages and
program—rather, it offers inquiry as a frame- initiatives. Expanding Partnerships, ASP Conf. Ser., vol.
work for considering how scientists can sup- ReSciPE welcomes queries from projects 381, edited by C. D. Garmany et al., pp. 289–297,
port science education across a wide range interested in hosting a professional devel- Astron. Soc. of the Pac., San Francisco, Calif.
of venues, whether a schoolroom presen- opment workshop for their participating Olson, S., and S. Loucks- Horsley (Eds.) (2000),
tation, teacher institute, or public lecture. scientists. To learn more, visit http://cires Inquiry and the National Science Education Stan-
Follow-up interviews show that this approach .colorado.edu/education/k12/rescipe, or con- dards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning, Natl.
resonates with scientists, who draw on the tact us at email@example.com. Res. Counc., Natl. Acad. Press, Washington, D. C.
Reiff, R., W. S. Harwood, and T. Phillipson (2002),
workshop material to reshape their own E/O
A scientific method based upon research scien-
work. References tists’ conceptions of scientific inquiry, in Proceed-
In addition to these positive outcomes ings of the 2002 Annual International Conference
for participants themselves, the study also Andrews, E., D. Hanley, J. Hovermill, A. Weaver, of the Association for the Education of Teachers
offers general knowledge that can assist and G. Melton (2005), Scientists and public in Science, edited by P. A. Rubba et al., Doc. ED
E/O providers in training scientist collab- outreach: Participation, motivations, and impedi- 465602, Educ. Resour. Inf. Cent., U.S. Dep. of
orators for E/O work. Using data from sur- ments, J. Geosci. Educ., 53(3), 281–293. Educ., Washington, D. C.
veys and interviews with workshop par- Biological Sciences Curriculum Studies (BSCS) Tanner, K. D., L. Chatman, and D. Allen (2003),
ticipants, the ReSciPE research team has (2006), Mystery of the Iceman, in BSCS Science: Approaches to biology teaching and learning:
An Inquiry Approach, Level 1, stud. ed., Kendall Science teaching and learning across the school-
developed a framework that organizes sci-
Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa. university divide—Cultivating conversations
entists’ professional development needs, Bransford, J. D., A. L. Brown, and R. R. Cocking through scientist-teacher partnerships, Cell Biol.
from initial recruitment into participation (Eds.) (1999), How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Educ., 2, 195–201, doi:10-1187/cbe.03-10-0044.
in education- related professional devel- Experience, and School, Natl. Res. Counc., Natl. Thiry, H., S. L. Laursen, and A.-B. Hunter (2008),
opment, to the professional development Acad. Press, Washington, D. C. Professional development needs and outcomes
activity itself, and finally, follow- up sup- Bybee, R. W., and C. A. Morrow (1998), Improving for education-engaged scientists: A research-
port [Thiry et al., 2008; Laursen et al., science education: The role of scientists, fall 1998 based framework and its application, J. Geosci.
2008]. To fully meet scientists’ profes- newsletter of the Forum on Education, Am. Phys. Educ., 56(3), 245–246.
sional development needs, recruitment Soc., College Park, Md. WGBH (2000), Teaching High School Science: The
Delta Education (2008), Models and Designs, Full Physics of Optics, Annenberg/ CPB video series,
should address scientists’ motivation and
Option Scientific System (FOSS), Berkeley, Calif. Boston, Mass.
access to training; the professional devel- Harwood, W. S. (2004), A new model for inquiry: Is
opment activity itself should provide use- the scientific method dead?, J. Coll. Sci. Teach., —Sandra L. LaurSen and LeSLey K. Smith,
ful knowledge and skills relevant to sci- 33, 29–33. Education and Outreach, Cooperative Institute
entists’ own E/O activities and engage Kim, C., and R. Fortner (2007), Educators’ views of for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES),
them with other perspectives on E/O; collaboration with scientists, Am. Second. Educ., University of Colorado, Boulder; E-mail: sandra
and follow-up should offer practical help, 35(3), 29–53. .firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven AGU members were recipients of Vivoni, New Mexico Institute of Mining
GEOPHYSICISTS the 2007 Presidential Early Career Awards and Technology, Socorro. The awards are
for Scientists and Engineers, announced considered the U.S. government’s high-
by the White House on 19 December. est honor for professionals at the outset
They are Kim M. Cobb, Georgia Institute of their independent scientific research
Honors of Technology, Atlanta; Charles Kankel- careers.
borg, Montana State University, Bozeman;
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has Anna M. Michalak, University of Michi-
selected Jane Lubchenco as his choice to gan, Ann Arbor; Yi Ming, NOAA; Merav In Memoriam
be administrator of NOAA. Lubchenco cur- Opher, George Mason University, Fairfax,
rently is professor of marine biology and Va.; Purnima Ratilal, Northeastern Uni- Sidney Kaufman, 100, 23 October 2008,
zoology at Oregon State University, Corvallis. versity, Boston, Mass.; and Enrique R. Seismology, 1961