Coastal upwelling, sea level change, and more: Teaching Boxes for your classroom
Shelley E. Olds, UCAR, Boulder, CO
Now in its second phase of development, the DLESE Teaching Box project is providing exciting teaching resources for the classroom and is unique in its scope of collaboration as well as its methods for creating curriculum and providing teacher professional development opportunities.
One of the challenges that teachers face daily is incorporating educational resources, found online, into their instructional setting. Many teachers have difficulty finding time to creatively employ these resources to their fullest extent, and, sometimes, understanding how the resource can be used in an instructional setting. To help overcome these roadblocks, the DLESE Teaching Boxes add value to existing educational resources, allowing teachers to experience how to use these resources in an instructional setting and helping teachers to more effectively interpret the use of these resources in a variety of standards-based classroom settings. Teaching Boxes are effective for teachers with minimal subject area expertise and for teachers instructing outside of their discipline.
For teachers, the Teaching Box is a familiar concept, immediately communicating the idea of “all the science you need in a single box.” Each DLESE Teaching Box is designed to provide 3-6 weeks of instruction, uses an Earth system science conceptual framework as its core, and contains inquiry-based lessons, a culminating activity to assess learning, teacher background materials, teaching tips, and downloadable student worksheets. They incorporate National and California science, math, and language arts standards and offer guidance on teaching pathways through the materials.
The development process uses a team approach in which teachers, scientists and instructional designers work together to construct Teaching Boxes. During the curriculum development process, teachers learn cutting-edge science content, are exposed to current research and scientific thinking, and experience inquiry-based learning first hand. They work with the scientists to develop activities and lessons to engage students in the process of science by emphasizing inquiry and discovery. In return for this experience, teachers commit to using at least one Teaching Box in the classroom and perform an in-service or workshop.
In the 2004-2005 pilot project, seven teachers worked with DLESE Program Center staff, and partners, in the development and classroom testing of two Teaching Boxes. In 2005-2006, a new cadre of eight teachers from the San Francisco Bay Area developed four additional Earth system science Teaching Boxes covering the following topics: seasonal upwelling, sea level change, earthquake hazards, and mountain building. Each Box has been reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom tested, during the 2005 academic year, to evaluate pedagogical effectiveness. With funding support from the National Science Foundation, this project is a collaborative effort between the DLESE Program Center, UCAR; the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley; the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park; San Francisco State University, and several San Francisco Bay Area school districts.
Session 8B, Teacher Training (cont)
Thursday, 6 July 2006, 8:30 AM-10:45 AM, Centre Greene Building 1, Auditorium
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