TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

Information needed

Information to share

Name(s) of instructor(s)

Kathryn Picanco

Name of university

Whitworth University

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

Elementary and Middle School Science Methods

University course number

EDE 343

University course title

K-8 Science Methods

University course catalogue description

Introduction to instruction and assessment of science in the K-8 classroom. Emphasis on integrating science concepts in other disciplines. Includes theories, teaching strategies, demonstration and laboratory techniques, an overview of curriculum, assessment guidelines, Washington state standards, conducting field trips and safety considerations.

Objectives

(big ideas are fine)

-Understand the nature of science, sustainability and issues in their community.

-Identify how to adapt the science program for individuals with learner differences and be able to apply the strategies to lesson plans.

-Understand how a thematic unit of study can be designed.

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

(This is the main, detailed description)

Project Learning Tee and Project Wet Training

The pre-service teachers participated in Project Learning Tree and/or Project Wet training. The experience and guides were fundamental pieces of the majority of class activities centered around environmental education, sustainability and general methods. Trainings can be conducted by the National Parks Service rangers or educational outreach personnel or by a local specialist.

Project Learning Tree was especially helpful to demonstrate to students how to organize a thematic unit and teach multiple subject areas through the lens of science. The lessons are differentiated by grade level and show students how to accommodate different learner needs for each. This foundation was helpful for the students when designing an interdisciplinary unit.

A sample activity the pre-service teachers participate in was the “Web of Life”. The pre-service teachers first research a forest organism to find out where they live, how the eat, predators, and so on. Once the research is completed, the pre-service teachers stood in a circle representing the organism they studied by wearing a name tag with its name. A connection is made between all of the represented organisms by a ball of string, starting with one and then connecting to another that has a connection to it somehow (predator, habitat, etc.). When all of the connections are made, creating a web with the string, one organism is removed, hypothetically due to some sort of human impact. When that organism leaves, the string is tugged, illustrating to the person on the other side that their organism’s ecosystem has now been altered. The tugs continue until the entire web is shaking. This illustrates that the removal of one aspect of a larger ecosystem impacts its entirety. Overall, this is an effective lesson to illustrate the interdependency of systems while also showing students how to integrate reading and writing into the science lesson through research.

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

This depended on the activities demonstrated, but the materials were not complex.

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

No

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

Describe the setting.

Both. Most of the training was conducted indoors, but some took place outside. We also ensured the pre-service teachers learned about field studies during the training. That aspect took place outdoors.

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

No

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

Training was conducted by either a National Parks Service ranger or certified professional in the Environmental Education curricula.

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

The pre-service teachers used the curriculum to create lesson plans and interactive activities.

The pre-service teachers took a survey at the end of the course to voice their opinions regarding the effectiveness of the training towards preparing them to teach about environmental education and sustainability.

Other?

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

-Funding for the EE guides/training.

-Mini grants for work with local schools (for things such as Family Science Night and sustainable design projects)

Thank you!

Information needed

Information to share

Name(s) of instructor(s)

Kathryn Picanco

Name of university

Whitworth University

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

Elementary and Middle School Science Methods

University course number

EDE 343

University course title

K-8 Science Methods

University course catalogue description

Introduction to instruction and assessment of science in the K-8 classroom. Emphasis on integrating science concepts in other disciplines. Includes theories, teaching strategies, demonstration and laboratory techniques, an overview of curriculum, assessment guidelines, Washington state standards, conducting field trips and safety considerations.

Objectives

(big ideas are fine)

-Understand what sustainability is and its role in our lives

-Identify local issues related to sustainability

-Develop an interactive activity focused on sustainability to teach to K-6 students

-Develop an interdisciplinary lesson focused on the key ideas for the interactive lesson

-Differentiate the interactivity to meet the needs of a range of learner readiness levels

-Teach the interactivity and reflect on its outcome

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

(This is the main, detailed description)

Family Science Night. This event focused on the creation of interactive activities for elementary grades focused on environmental education and sustainability. This project is the culmination of many smaller activities and training related to EE and sustainability including:

-training in an environmental education curriculum (PLT, Wet, etc.)

-conversations with local experts regarding issues specific to Spokane or where the students live

-linking the EE training activities and local issues to create the focus for the interactive activity and

-creating a lesson plan for the activity using the 5E model

Pre-service teachers worked in small groups to create their activity. The interactive activities were presented to an elementary school in the evening in a science fair format where students rotated through each activity. Families were encouraged to participate in the event together. After the event, the pre-service teachers were asked to reflect on their experience and make modifications to their lesson plans. The following is a description of the Family Science Night requirements:

Description for Science Family Night

The purpose of this assignment is to create an interactive science enrichment center for students focused on an issue of environment and sustainability in the Spokane area. Ideally, the interactive display and activity is one where students could go to work independently on the activity or with a small group of students.

Topic: Select a science focus for your interactive display that fits in with an environmental theme. Please note this does not mean your display will have to deal with only environmental EALRs, you can easily teach processes or other content through the lens of environmental education. I suggest you look at the GLEs for the grade level you wish to teach. Once you have decided what your focus is, determine what key concepts and skills will be reinforced. Select a lesson from the Project Learning Tree or Project Wet guide to guide your lesson.

Lesson Plan: Environmental Science 5 E and Differentiated Lesson Plan

Rewrite the PLT lesson that you will use for the Family Science Night to reflect what your group has decided that you will actually do with your students. Use the following guidelines to create your lesson plan.

  1. Title of lesson
  2. Grade level
  3. EALRs
  4. Enduring understanding related to sustainability
  5. Essential questions
  6. Lesson objective: what do you want the children to discover and learn?
  7. Materials necessary (include handouts if applicable)
  8. Overall time for the lesson (this may take place over the course of a few days)
  9. Description of each stage of the 5 E cycle
    • Engage
    • Explore
    • Explain
    • Extend/Elaborate
    • Evaluate
  10. For each stage of the 5 E cycle, make note of how you will modify it for different learners. When you document this on the lesson plan, please write different versions for each stage of the 5 E cycle that will require modifications and/or accommodations. Consider the following:
    • child’s experience with the content
    • development of process skills
    • special needs (learning disabilities, gifted, behavioral)
    • scaffolding
    • extensions
  11. Add interdisciplinary connections (math, social studies, reading, etc.). This can be done as a resource list at the end or within the five phases of the lesson.
  12. Websites or other resources that would be helpful for background information and extensions

Display Elements: Your display will be designed for students at the grade level you are currently teaching or want to teach. Therefore, use pictures, language and activities appropriate for that grade level. Keep it simple and colorful!

Create a display board or poster to serve as a backdrop for an interactive activity that can fit on an average classroom table. The materials for the activity should be placed in front of the display board or poster, leaving room for your audience to try the activities and read the books. The display board or poster needs to include the following things:

  • name of science activity(ies)
  • statement of how the topic is related to a sustainability issue in Spokane
  • simple step-by-step directions for the students
  • materials the students will need for the activity(ies)
  • colorful, fun pictures related to your topic that will catch the eye of children and facilitate learning

Examples: Studying the effect of ground spills on the Spokane Aquifer, identifying sources of water pollution, exploring water filtration systems, basic principles of recycling, composting techniques and their benefits, and learning about how water pollution impacts habitats in the Spokane River.

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

This depended on the activities demonstrated, but the materials were not complex. We tried to keep the budget under $20 per activity total.

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

Yes. The activities were designed for K-6, but the event was open to the entire family. Thus, preK-12 (and adults) participated in the activities. Students were told to anticipate this range of age differences and adjust instruction accordingly.

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

Describe the setting.

The Family Science Night activity took place indoors in the elementary school gymnasium and hallways. Tables were set up around the perimeter of the gymnasium and down the hallways to facilitate flow of traffic.

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

The Fall Family Science Night involved another pre-service elementary science methods class at the graduate level (Sylvia Smith).

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

Pre-event: Community leaders came and spoke to my class about sustainability in the Spokane area. The leaders represented Spokane Solid Waste Management, Spokane Sustainability Task Force and E3. The West Valley Outdoor Learning Center was also instrumental with the EE training.

Event: Local physicians and scientists were invited to participate in the event. The Spring Family Science Night featured three physicians, an oceanographer and the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center raptor program. Camp Invention also attended the Spring event.

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

The pre-service teachers wrote a reflection paper on the event including their thoughts on the experience and what they learned.

The pre-service teachers took a survey at the end of the course to voice their opinions regarding the effectiveness of the training towards preparing them to teach about environmental education and sustainability.

Other?

Link to an article in the Spokesman Review about the April 29, 2009 Family Science Night Event at Jefferson Elementary:

students-teach-students-science/

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

Thank you!

Information needed

Information to share

Name(s) of instructor(s)

Kathryn Picanco

Name of university

Whitworth University

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

Elementary and Middle School Science Methods

University course number

EDE 343

University course title

K-8 Science Methods

University course catalogue description

Introduction to instruction and assessment of science in the K-8 classroom. Emphasis on integrating science concepts in other disciplines. Includes theories, teaching strategies, demonstration and laboratory techniques, an overview of curriculum, assessment guidelines, Washington state standards, conducting field trips and safety considerations.

Objectives

(big ideas are fine)

-Demonstrate understanding what place-based education is
-Apply understanding of project-based and problem-based learning -Demonstrate understanding themes of sustainability

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

(This is the main, detailed description)

The Sustainable Design Project. Pre-service teachers read and designed a project based on The Sustainable Design Project guide posted on the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website. The guide clearly outlines how to construct and conduct high quality project, problem and place-based instructional activities.

To fulfill the project requirements, the pre-service teachers first selected a local issue related to sustainability. After the issue was selected, the pre-service teachers determined potential solutions and created an action plan for students to potentially follow to solve the problem. The pre-service teachers identified key community partners to work with, resources and potential safety issues associated with their project. Sample projects included developing a recycling program at a school, cleaning up a local pond and examining the cost effectiveness and environmental impact of using plastic versus recycled food trays in the cafeteria. Upon completion of the project, the pre-service teachers shared them with one another and discussed implementation ideas.

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

The Sustainable Design Project guide.

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

No.

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

Describe the setting.

Indoors. However, if implemented, most projects tend to take place outdoors.

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

No.

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

-Community leaders came and spoke to my class about sustainability in the Spokane area. The leaders represented Spokane Solid Waste Management, Spokane Sustainability Task Force and E3.

-The West Valley Outdoor Learning Center was instrumental with the EE training, which acted as a preliminary step to this project.

-Two masters students shared their Sustainable Design and Outdoor Learning projects with the class to share ideas and implementation information.

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

The pre-service teachers were assessed on the completion of their project. The pre-service teachers took a survey at the end of the course to voice their opinions regarding the effectiveness of the training towards preparing them to teach about environmental education and sustainability.

Other?

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

Thank you!