TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

Seattle Pacific University – EDSC 2566: Environmental Ed. for Elementary Teachers

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Name(s) of instructor(s)

Eleanor Close, Lezlie DeWater, Hunter Close

Name of university

Seattle Pacific University

Level of preparation for the program being described: elementary, middle school, high school (or combination)


University course number

EDSC 2566 / PHY 2566 (cross-listed)

University course title

Environmental Ed. For Elementary Teachers / Physical Science as a Process of Inquiry

University course catalogue description

EDSC 2566: Will involve students in inquiry-based activities in the classroom and on field trips, using regional environmental resources to investigate the interaction of the earth's biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Teaching strategies suitable for elementary education will be modeled.

PHY 2566: Laboratory-Based study of selected topics in physical science, with emphasis on depth of understanding and cultivation of essential scientific reasoning skills. Inquiry-based instruction guided by results from research in physics education and the professional development of teachers. Preparation for teaching physical science in elementary school; teaching strategies suitable for elementary education will be modeled.


(big ideas are fine)


All course objectives are for the purpose of helping students address the four commitments of the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework: competence, character, service, and leadership. Additionally, student goals that relate to each course objective are indicated within parentheses.

    1. Students will demonstrate understanding of foundational concepts in physical science through homework assignments and exams, in which students will both answer questions and explain the reasoning required to arrive at the answers (Category VIII).
    2. Students will demonstrate a positive approach to problem-solving through participation in open-ended, inquiry-based laboratory activities in cooperation with laboratory partners (Categories I, III).
    3. Students will demonstrate understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry by using evidence-based reasoning (Category VIII).
    4. Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate ideas clearly in writing through written reflections and explanations of reasoning (Categories II, VI).
    1. Students will examine personal views relating to science and learning through classroom discussions and written reflections (Categories I, VII).
    1. Students will practice active listening, demonstrate empathy and compassion, and develop awareness and understanding of the uniqueness of each individual in their collaborative work with laboratory partners (Category I).
    1. Students will demonstrate ability and willingness to help others and to receive help from others in the process of assisting their laboratory groups in reaching course goals (Categories I, IV).

Description of the experience(s) the pre-service teachers had to learn EE-ESE strategies

(This is the main, detailed description)

One component of the course is focused on field investigations. This begins with a weekend at the Blakely Island Field Station, where students complete a field investigation based on a Project Learning Tree lesson and then develop their own investigative question to explore. Students also discuss elements of a field investigation and the kinds of question that can be answered through field investigation techniques. Students then have an Urban Field Investigation assignment, to be completed in groups on or around the Seattle Pacific University campus. Each group develops the investigative question, agrees on data collection techniques, collects and analyzes data, and prepares a presentation for the class. Presentations are peer-reviewed by the other students in the class, as well as by the instructors.

See attachments for further details:

  • Urban Field Investigation Assignment
  • Field Investigation Presentation RubricV3

Materials/equipment needed for the pre-service teacher experience (include technology that may have been used)

Basic materials for PLT investigations (string, paper, shovels, glass jars, rulers, etc.)

Students may request whatever materials they need for urban field investigations. Most groups choose technologically simple investigations. Some use water-quality tests such as pH and nitrogen levels; others use thermometers, rulers, stop-watches, and other simple equipment.

Were preK-12 children involved? (Yes or no). If yes, describe their involvement and ages.


Was this an indoor or outdoor project (or both)?

Describe the setting.

Both. The field investigations involved data collection outdoors (at Blakely Island and then at outdoor urban settings in the Seattle area); data analysis, follow-up research, and presentations take place indoors.

Were other subject area professors involved? Yes or no. If yes, what subjects were integrated? How?

Instructors for this course include faculty from the Physics Department and the School of Education.

Were there community/ agency/institution partners? Yes or no. If yes, how was the partnership structured?


How was the program evaluated? What did the pre-service teachers have to say?

Students complete a reflection assignment after the Blakely Island weekend, and standard end-of-term course evaluations. Students also complete peer evaluations of Urban Field Investigation presentations.


If another grant was written to support your EE-ESE work, what types of things would you hope to accomplish?

Thank you!