AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 59 Get'em Hooked: Pre-college Astronomy
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Hanover Hall

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[59.02] Taking Back the Future with an Innovative Program for Training Science Teachers

E. J. Hooper, G. Dickinson, M. H. Walker, M. P. Marder, P. Kumar (UT Austin)

Research findings for students in Texas and Alabama indicate that teachers' expertise accounted for about 40% of the variance in mathematics and reading achievement. Given that about one third of high school mathematics and science teachers lack either a major or certification in their field, the impact of underqualified teachers can have far reaching impacts. In 1997, the colleges of Natural Science and Education at the University of Texas, in concert with the local school district and experienced teachers, developed a new joint secondary school science teacher preparation program called UTeach. This program provides early and frequent field experience, instruction from master teachers and university scientists, the development of a teaching portfolio, plus a peer and support network which extends beyond graduation. The innovative and streamlined courses focus on the particulars of secondary science education, project and inquiry teaching methodologies, and lab experiences more true to what actually happens in research. After starting with only 28, UTeach now has approximately 400 students enrolled, and graduates have started fanning out across the country.

Two research astronomers (EH & PK) recently joined the program and now work alongside physicists, biologists, and chemists teaching courses or parts of them. In addition to helping some of the students with physics and astronomy projects, the astronomers provide guidance on experiment design and execution principles, statistics, and scientific writing to students working in all fields.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ehooper@astro.as.utexas.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.