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)

Martha J. Kurtz

Name of university

Central Washington University

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


University course number

SCED 354

University course title

Science, Society, and the Teaching Community

University course catalogue description

Teacher candidates will learn the nature and context of science, compare science with other ways of knowing, describe the relationship between science and the community, and gain skills in integrating community resources with the classroom.

Objectives of this specific EE-ESE project

(big ideas are fine)

Student learn about resources available in their community to support science teaching. These include agencies, locations, and specific people with most being EE-ESE related resources.

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

(This is the main, detailed description. Please include enough detail so someone else will know what you did.)

Students participated in several activities that pertained to EE-ESE. They created an annotated resource list that included a description of the resource, what it costs, and ideas for how it could be used to support science teaching. They participated in on-line discussions about current issues in science, many of which were related to sustainability. They held three formal debates on scientific issues related to sustainability. Students were required to participate in a civic engagement project outside of class. Most of these related directly to the environment or sustainability. For example, students provided activities at a community event to educate the public about our local biome, the Shrub Steppe. Students also wrote a grant proposal and, although not required to be related to EE or ESE, most of them were.

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

Field guides, mounted bird specimen, binoculars, ITV, BlackBoard, internet, library.

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

Yes, all civic engagement projects included preK-12 children. CWU students provided activities for children at school and community events. The children participating ranged in age from preK – 10th depending on the event.

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

Describe the setting.

Both. We used the classroom, a local State park, and public school grounds.

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


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

Not really although students learned about community partners by talking to them, researching their website, and visiting (in some cases).

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

The professor received multiple emails and anecdotal remarks about the value of the course experience. One student said that this course had helped her to remember why she had wanted to be a teacher in the first place and restored her motivation to continue in the teaching program. Students uniformly praised the course and the course activities in a written evaluation of instruction conducted anonymously.


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

I would like to make EE-ESE strategies more uniformly taught as part of our elementary science methods course across all faculty.

Thank you!