Sunday, 9 February 2003
Involving students in authentic research through student-teacher-scientist partnerships
The National Science Education Standards emphasize that students should learn science through inquiry and should understand the concepts and processes that shape our natural world. One method of accomplishing these goals is to provide students and teachers with opportunities to participate in scientists' ongoing research. In the Earth System Scientist Network (ESSN) project we are working to develop a part of scientists' research projects for the meaningful participation of 8th-12th grade students. This development goes well beyond identifying the participating scientist and asking the teachers and students to participate. It also requires: addressing logistical issues related to the partnership; identifying and testing the tools (both hardware and software) that the teachers and students will use; identifying the background information and defining the training they will need; and identifying spatial and time requirements unique to each project as well as incentives for the students and teachers. Each project is unique and thus needs to be developed independently of the others; however, each research project needs to address all of these issues.
In this paper we will discuss the importance of each of these issues, how they are addressed in the projects we are currently developing, how they are being presented to students and teachers through the web site, http://essn.terc.edu, and our plans implementing the partnerships.
Supplementary URL: http://essn.terc.edu