2009 Eo010003


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2009 Eo010003

  1. 1. 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. [2004], redrawn from Reiff et al. [2002].
  2. 2. 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 rescipe@cires.colorado.edu. 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. .laursen@colorado.edu 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- Page 4 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