19 August 2013

BES Education News – Teacher Institute

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study, in Partnership with Towson University, just wrapped up another year of its Math Science Partnership (MSP) Teacher Institute.  The Institute consisted of a 7-day workshop held during the summer of 2012 plus five Saturday workshop sessions during the 2012-2013 school year.  Middle and high school science teachers participated in activities designed to bolster their confidence in teaching carbon, water and biodiversity topics to their students, understanding how their students think and learn about topics in the Environmental Sciences, and using their urban, rural and suburban neighborhoods as ecosystems that students can study.  Saturday workshop topics included Biodiversity, Groundwater, Sustainability, Climate Change and Energy Production.  The project was grateful to have the assistance of many BES scientists, graduate students and collaborators in running these workshops.  A special thanks to Dr. Chris Swan (UMBC), Aditi Bhaskar (UMBC), Abbey Cocke (Baltimore City Office of Sustainability), Marcus Griswold (University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science), and Theodore Atwood (Baltimore City Energy Office) for delivering exciting and educational presentations to our teachers during these workshop. 

In total, 22 teachers participated in the Institute.  These teachers taught a variety of modules to their students designed by project staff to increase student understanding of key topics in environmental science.  In total, 25 modules developed by project staff were delivered to students.   Teachers received teaching support from project staff including Molly VanAppledorn, Natalie Mollett and Molly Charnes.  Molly VanAppledorn, a graduate student at UMBC, was a first time participant in the project.  In addition to assisting teachers with implementation of modules she contributed to the professional development research group by curating, coding and analyzing databases on national educational activities, assisted in the water research working group, and helped coordinate professional development workshops for Baltimore city and county teachers throughout the school year.  Natalie Mollett, a graduate student at Towson University, was participating in the program for a second year.  Natalie contributed tremendously to the carbon research working group, analyzing student assessment responses and assisting teachers in integrating the modules into their existing curriculum.  Molly Charnes, a high school science teacher from Oregon, came to the MSP project in summer 2012 as a Teacher-in-Residence.  She spent a full year working with the project, assisting teachers in their classrooms and working with the biodiversity team to develop teacher materials for assessing and understanding student thinking.  She has recently returned to the classroom back in Oregon.  

Submitted by Bess Caplan, BES Ecology Education Program Leader