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R. Gelderman, M.T. Carini, C.H. McGruder, J.L. Roberts, F.D. Siewers, R.T. Tyler, A.H. Wulff (Western Kentucky Univ)
The "How Old Is Your Universe?" workshops for middle grade science teachers have succeeded in providing an activity-based, learner-centered approach to the significance of the vastness of cosmological timescales. A team of astronomers, geologists and educators from Western Kentucky University developed the professional development workshops for in-service and pre-service science teachers. Specifically designed around the grades 5-11 science standards, upon which Kentucky’s high stakes testing is based, the presentation of the workshop materials was purposefully designed around inquiry-based activities. Each of the two workshops was held over four days, split between the topics of “How old is our Earth?” and “How old is our Cosmos?” Each day was composed of a mix of hands-on activities, in-depth discussions of content, and forums to allow teachers to investigate their own optimal way to implement the material into their classrooms. Participants were assessed prior to and immediately after each day of the workshop. The in-service teachers were required to submit an implementation plan for their individual classrooms. Implementation has been supported by the faculty/researcher mentors; with stipends and further materials available to the teachers as additional encouragement. This poster presents an overview of the workshops as well as the results of our various assessment efforts. We describe how the participants clearly increased their understanding of the nature of cosmological timescales, and of the strategies and benefits behind inquiry-based teaching methods. The implementation process is proceeding well and we are continuing our efforts to broadly disseminate our workshop structure as a highly successful template.
The development and implementation of these workshops was funded through the STScI IDEAS program. Support for proposal HST-ED-90251.01-A was provided by NASA through a grant from the STScI, which is operated by the AURA, Inc under NASA contract NAS5-26555.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
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