Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Earth & Space Science: About the Course

Course Structure

On-Site Activities

Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science consists of eight sessions, each of which includes group activities and discussions as well as an hour-long video program.

This guide provides activities and discussion topics for pre- and post-viewing investigations that complement each of the eight one-hour video programs.

Getting Ready (Site Investigation)

In preparation for watching the program, you will engage in 60 minutes of investigation through discussion and activity.

Watch the Video

Then you will watch the 60-minute video, which includes classroom footage, commentary, science demonstrations, and more.

Going Further (Site Investigation)

Wrap up the session with an additional 60 minutes of investigation through discussion and activity.

Between Sessions

Homework Assignments
Each session will contain the following homework activities. All participants should complete the assignments marked with *—the Reading Assignment, the Problem Set, the Ongoing Concept Mapping, and Preparing for the Next Session. Participants taking the course for graduate credit must complete all of the listed assignments, including those described in the Graduate Course Requirements section.

Note: Required Hours for Graduate Credit: If you are taking this course for graduate credit, the complete set of homework activities has been designed to fulfill the additional three hours required per session. The time taken to complete each assignment will vary among individuals, so no time estimates have been given. Each assignment will result in some form of evidence of learning. This evidence may be useful in building a portfolio for course assessment purposes.

Reading Assignment*
The reading assignments for this course are selected and assigned to expose you to the research literature on children’s ideas about Earth and space science and reinforce your understanding of the science content included in each of the sessions. In some cases, there will be a specific homework task associated with a reading. In all cases, there will be small group work connected with the assigned readings occurring during the next session.

Earth and Space Science Problem Set*
Each session will be accompanied by a problem set that will reinforce content learning by asking questions that apply or extend Earth and space science concepts addressed in the video. Possible answers for the problem set will be provided at the end of the session materials. It should be emphasized that many questions have a variety of answers – answers that vary depending on the understandings of the person answering the question. The intent is not to give you “right answers,” but to suggest one answer for each question that is considered scientifically accurate.

Ongoing Concept Mapping*
Within each session, several fundamental concepts are explored. Creating a set of concept maps will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on your understandings of these concepts and their connections to one another as well as to see how the content in each session relates to that of other sessions. A more detailed explanation of concept mapping is included in Session 1.

Guided Journal Entry
As you proceed through this course, one way of building and connecting understandings is to reflect upon your learning as you go. In each session, one or more questions will be suggested to guide a journal entry. At the end of the course, these entries should help you see how your ideas have progressed.

Guided Teacher-TalkEarthspace Posting
Although this is a course designed to help enhance your understandings of earth and space science concepts, the intention is for you to use this knowledge to inform your teaching. Often, a community of learners who are also teachers can collaborate to support one another in transforming content knowledge into successful classroom action. In each session, one or more questions will be suggested to guide a discussion on Teacher-Talk to facilitate this type of collaboration among participants.

Textbook Reading Suggestions
We strongly recommend that you acquire introductory college-level geology and astronomy texts to refer to in this course. Reading topics will be listed in each session and can be located in most textbooks in the Table of Contents or Index.

Preparing for the Next Session*
This section will get you thinking about upcoming topics and remind you to bring materials needed for the next session’s activities.

Ongoing Activities

The following are activities that you should work on between sessions for the duration of the course:

  • This Course Web Site:
    Go online for additional activities, resources, and discussion through Teacher-TalkEarthspaceTeacher
  • TalkEarthspace:
    You can communicate with other course participants throughout the country via the course’s email discussion list. To subscribe to Teacher-TalkEarthspace, visit: http://www.learner.org/mailman/listinfo/teacher-talkearthspace.

Scheduling Course Sessions

Below are recommended options for scheduling credit and non-credit class meetings, based on how participants are viewing the video programs. Because of the amount and kinds of work associated with a graduate-level course, it is recommended that participation in the course for credit be over a 15-week period. “Work weeks” are scheduled to allow participants time to work on their assignments required for graduate credit.

Option One: Viewing via DVD or video on demand (VOD) (for Graduate Credit)

  • Week 1. View Program 1 and complete assignments
  • Week 2. View Program 2 and complete assignments
  • Week 3. Work Week
  • Week 4. View Program 3 and complete assignments
  • Week 5. View Program 4 and complete assignments
  • Week 6. Work Week
  • Week 7. View Program 5 and complete assignments
  • Week 8. View Program 6 and complete assignments
  • Week 9. Work Week
  • Week 10. View Program 7 and complete assignments
  • Week 11. View Program 8 and complete assignments
  • Weeks 12-15. Complete long-term coursework: assemble portfolio components, action research project and paper, and annotated bibliography.

Option Two: Viewing the Programs via DVD or video on Demand (VOD) (Not for Graduate Credit)

  • Week 1. View Program 1 and complete assignments
  • Week 2. View Program 2 and complete assignments
  • Week 3. View Program 3 and complete assignments
  • Week 4. View Program 4 and complete assignments
  • Week 5. View Program 5 and complete assignments
  • Week 6. View Program 6 and complete assignments
  • Week 7. View Program 7 and complete assignments
  • Week 8. View Program 8 and complete assignments

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