TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

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Name(s) of instructor(s)

Mindy Howard

Name of university

Gonzaga University

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


University course number

BIOL 222

University course title

Core Topics: Science for Teachers

University course catalogue description

This class, team-taught by science department and the School of Education, will introduce the process of scientific inquiry to students planning a career in elementary education (K-8).


(big ideas are fine)

Teach core biological concepts through inquiry and systems theory. Main topics include plants as systems, animals as systems, ecosystems, and genetics and evolution.

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

(This is the main, detailed description)

Throughout the course, we had discussions about human impacts on organisms and ecosystems. Students were required to participate in a semester-long service-learning program. One option was an after-school program called Earthbound where pre-service teachers led EE activities to students at schools with a 95% or higher free and reduced lunch status. Alternately, students could create an original 3 –4 minute video educating the public about an environmental issue pertinent to their peers. Examples of videos produced were on reducing water bottle consumption, recycling cell phone batteries, and how to throw parties with sustainable materials. Videos were published to You tube for public viewing.

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

Video camera and editing software. For after-school activities, it depended on the activity being done, but materials were everyday items and easy to access.

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

In the Earthbound program, K-12 students participated in after-school activities. Most students ranged from grades 2-8.

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

Describe the setting.

Most activities were indoors.

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

Yes. For the videos, other professors were sometimes consulted for expertise around an issue. For example, the Gonzaga University campus has banned the sale of bottled water, which was initiated by some students and faculty. They were interviewed for the video regarding their efforts and reasons.

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

Yes, for the Earthbound program, partnerships are formed between public schools in Spokane and Gonzaga University.

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

Pre-service teachers were asked to write a reflection on their experiences. Did it raise their own awareness on environmental issues? Did it help others raise their awareness? Are they more confident to teach scientific and environmental subjects/issues in the classroom as a result of their experiences?


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

I hope to integrate more with EE or design a new class around sustainability in a place-based setting (real life learning).

Thank you!