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5 Exemplary Programs Major Points in Chapter 5 The ChemEd conferences held in odd-numbered years provide high school chemistry teachers with hands-on activities and other professional development opportunities. The University of Pennsylvania Science Teacher Institute offers a masterâs of chemistry education for high school teachers that has yielded significant increases in chemical content knowledge for participants. The AirUCI Summer Workshop for Teachers uses issues being studied in the Environmental Molecular Science Institute at the University of California, Irvine, to immerse teachers of chemistry and other subjects in scientific concepts and lab activities. Evaluations of the âTerrific Science: Empower Teachers Through Innovationâ program at Miami University in Ohio, which has provided more than 22,000 teachers with inquiry-based science workshops, demonstrate that the program has had a substantial influence on classroom activities and student learning. Many outreach programs have sought to improve the qual- Michigan State University in 1965, Irwin Talesnick from ity of high school chemistry teaching in the United States. Queens University has delivered somewhere between 1,500 Presenters at the workshop described four such programs and 2,000 presentations at professional development sessions in detail. The programs were not necessarily chosen to rep- around the world. Such an outcome probably would not resent the best of all the programs that have been offered, appear in a program evaluation, yet that 1965 workshop was but they demonstrate some of the ways in which chemistry the âdefining momentâ of his life, Talesnick said. instruction can be dramatically improved. The ChemEd conferences originated not long after. Fol- lowing the 1972 Biennial Conference on Chemical Educa- tion (BCCE), a group of high school teachers and chemistry THE CHEMED CONFERENCES professors decided to organize a similar conference directed Since attending a chemistry education summer workshop primarily toward high school teachers rather than college sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at and university faculty. Since 1973, the ChemEd conferences 24
EXEMPLARY PROGRAMS 25 have been held in odd-numbered years, while the BCCE has The program is based on the hypothesis that increasing been held in even-numbered years. The ChemEd conferences the content knowledge of science teachers and influencing attract 800 to 1,000 attendees, with about 80 percent high their classroom practices will increase the content knowledge school teachers and 20 percent college and university faculty and change the attitudes of the students they teach. âItâs this (percentages approximately reversed for the BCCE). The hypothesis that drives our institute, drives our programs, and publication Chem 13 News, an informal magazine published also drives evaluation,â Blasie said. by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Water- The program was developed by University of Pennsyl- loo, has helped build support for the ChemEd conferences. vania chemist Hai-Lung Dai and has been funded by the Many teachers pay their own way to the ChemEd confer- National Science Foundation since 2004, with additional ences because of the difficulty of gaining support for travel support from the Rohm & Haas Company, the Camille & and attendance. To encourage teachers to attend, ChemEd Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the university. It is a col- organizers build in a family program, with child care, a sci- laborative effort of the School of Arts and Sciences and ence camp for children, and various family activities. âThe the Graduate School of Education. It offers two degree families get a vacation out of it, which makes it easier for the programsâa masterâs of integrated science education for chemist in the family to travel to a different area every two middle school teachers and a masterâs of chemistry education years, enjoy the chemistry, and enjoy whatever else there is for high school teachers. The program also offers a Science to be enjoyed.â Education Resource Center that is supplied with many items The conference generally consists of four days of ses- that teachers can use while in the program or borrow to take sions, 50 percent of which involve hands-on activities, that back to their classrooms. In addition, the program provides encompass everything from 15-minute presentations to full- mini-grants for which teachers can apply and two-day profes- day sessions. Approximately one-third of the attendees at any sional development workshops that have been co-developed conference have come to previous conferences, which is a and are co-presented by one of the teacher graduates and a measure of their success, said Talesnick. âTeachers have had University of Pennsylvania chemist. only, in my experience, positive comments to make about the The masterâs of chemistry education program began in conferences.â Furthermore, teachers forge friendships and the year 2000, so the ninth cohort of teachers began the collaborations at the conference that they maintain for years program in fall 2008. To foster support for teachers within even if they are in widely separated locations. their schools and school districts, the program seeks to have However, most chemistry teachers say that they cannot each teacher attend with an administrative partner. As both attend the ChemEd conferences because of the expense. partners learn about inquiry-based science, the administra- Talesnick therefore has been seeking financial support for tors also learn what teachers need to make changes in their the conferences to reduce the registration fee and associated classrooms. costs. âIf we had support from governments, industry, and so The program tries not to take teachers unless they have onâsome of which we get but not enoughâthe registration had more than two years of experience, so that they know fees could be reduced, the number of people will rise, and how to manage a classroom and have decided that they want the costs will decrease.â His other ambition is to make the to remain in teaching. At the same time, many teachers in conferences truly international, with attendance by chemistry the program, who are drawn largely from the Philadelphia teachers around the world. Achieving those two goals would school district, are poorly prepared in chemistry. have âa payoff for chemistry teachers, for universities, and Teachers take ten courses to earn a degree, eight on for our students.â chemistry content and two on chemistry education. The program covers 26 months of coursework over three con- secutive summers and two academic years, with the peda- THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCIENCE gogy courses delivered during the school year. The content TEACHER INSTITUTE courses, which are taught by chemists at the university, are The Rising Above the Gathering Storm report cited the organized not around lectures but around inquiry-based University of Pennsylvania Science Teacher Institute as a learning experiences. The courses also cover such topics model program for in-service teacher preparation. âThatâs as the nature of science, equity for students, and enduring a great honor,â said program director Constance Blasie, understandings. The program relies heavily on technology but âitâs also a huge responsibility to provide excellent and emphasizes nontraditional assessments. âThis is not a programming.â program for everyone,â said Blasie. âTeachers have to be absolutely committed.â To gauge its effects, the program has instituted an exten- sive evaluation effort. Two research associates work on National Research Council. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: internal and formative evaluations so that the program can Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Wash- make on-the-fly, real-time adjustments if its goals are not ington, DC: The National Academies Press.
26 STRENGTHENING HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY EDUCATION being achieved. As part of a broad external evaluation, the about 20 teachers in the region annually. Most are from research associates also gather data on such topics as content public high schools and middle schools located near the knowledge and teacher understanding of the nature of sci- University of California, Irvine (UCI), and most teach chem- ence. Teachers take a specially designed chemistry content istry at least part of the day. Some also teach environmental examination before they enter the program and again after science, physics, earth sciences, biology, and integrated sci- they have completed all the coursework. ences. Most have bachelorâs degrees, with a small number The content examination has revealed that teachers dem- having Ph.D.s and a small number having no college degree onstrate a highly significant increase in chemistry content at all. The workshop lasts for two weeks and teachers are knowledge over the course of the program. They also develop paid a stipend of $1,000, which is less than they would get a better understanding of the nature of science. for teaching summer school. âWe donât have people who To assess changes in teaching practices, teachers prepare are in it for the money,â said UCIâs Sergey Nizkorodov. The a baseline teaching portfolio at the beginning of the program program estimates that each teacher interacts with approxi- that describes a four- to five-day lesson plan. At the end, they mately 150 students per year. The program therefore is able prepare another such lesson plan based on their thesis topic. to reach 3,000 additional students each year, along with the Program evaluators then use a lesson plan analysis tool to studentsâ parents and members of the community. analyze the two plans. The analysis shows that the later les- The hypothesis behind the program, said Nizkorodov, is son plans reflect a much deeper understanding of how to deal that âif we convey enough excitement to the teachers, theyâll with equity issues in the classroom, how to use technology, become better teachers and affect students that way.â The and how to encourage students to practice their own analytic workshops involve faculty, graduate students, undergradu- skills. The one area in which they do not improve, Blasie ates, and doctoral researchersââeveryone who participates noted, is in using formative assessments to understand what in the AirUCI Institute.â Prominent faculty at UCI deliver students know and what their misconceptions are. lectures on a wide variety of topics, including atmospheric Teacher and student questionnaires compare the char- chemistry, climate change, air pollution, the interaction of acteristics of classrooms both before and after a teacher life and matter, surface science, and hydrogen bonds, and participates in the program. Results from both perspectives guest lecturers who are working at the institute provide talks show significantly increased use of standards-based instruc- on additional topics. tion once teachers have graduated from the program. The workshop also features labs adapted from those that Measures of student performance have been hampered are offered to upper division undergraduate students, scaled by the fact that different groups of students are being tested down so they can be completed in four hours. The labs use each year. However, a content examination given to suc- equipment recently purchased and refurbished through a cessive groups of students showed that students of program grant from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Groups graduates did significantly better than students of teachers of three or four teachers work with a graduate student from before they entered the program. Also, student questionnaires the institute, with the graduate students receiving $1,000 for revealed that students had a much better attitude about sci- their assistance. For example, one lab uses spectrometry to ence after their teachers attended the program. measure the amount of alcohol in vodka; another measures Much more can be done with evaluation data, Blasie the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in noted. For example, the electronic portfolios that teachers cigarette smoke; another measures the particle removal of keep could be probed for many different types of informa- auto emissions by air purifiers; and another measures aro- tion. One interesting suggestion made during the question- matic compounds in gasoline. A newly developed lab uses and-answer period addressed the difficult issue of finding laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to analyze metals. a control group against which to make comparisons. Eric Besides five wet labs in each workshop, two computer labs Jakobsson from the University of Illinois discussed a project are offeredâone based on a model of air pollution in the Los called Chemistry Literacy Through Computational Science. Angeles basin and the other based on the greenhouse proper- As a control, half of the teachers recruited to the program ties of various pollutants. Finally, at the end of the program, were delayed for a year and served as a control group for the the teachers do a half-day lab tour of institute activities. teachers who began the program. âWe donât do a very good job of evaluating our program,â said Nizkorodov. Mostly, the program has relied on self-eval- uations by teachers immediately following the workshop. THE AIRUCI SUMMER WORKSHOP FOR TEACHERS Recently, however, the program has been able to follow up The AirUCI Summer Workshop for Teachers was founded with teachers in the previous workshops with an anonymous in 2005 as an outreach program of the NSF-supported Envi- survey. When asked the question, âHave you been able to ronmental Molecular Science Institute, with additional sup- integrate any new information from this program into your port from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Since course syllabi?â 84 percent responded, âYes, to a certain 2005, four workshops have been offered that have served extent.â An additional 13 percent responded, âMy syllabi
EXEMPLARY PROGRAMS 27 have changed significantly as a result of taking this course.â the companion sciences to life for teachers and students at all When asked the question, âDo you feel you are in a better levels,â said Pacey. Workshops are organized around hands- position to discuss topics associated with climate change, air on activities, so that instructors do things with teachers and pollution, and atmospheric chemistry with your students and not for them. Teachers learn via modeling and constructive colleagues after participating in this program? â97 percent discourse and are encouraged to take risks in a supportive responded, âYes, my understanding of these topics definitely environment. In turn, teachers are encouraged and supported improved a lot.â to take activities back to their schools and use them with Teachers have many opportunities to attend other work- their students. Students experience the fun and excitement shops, Nizkorodov noted, though perhaps not with equip- of doing inquiry-based science rather than having science ment as sophisticated as that available at the institute. The done to them. By nurturing studentsâ curiosity, science teachers at the workshops had attended an average of five motivates them and inspires their innovation and creativity. to ten workshops before. The survey asked, If you attended Doing science this way also promotes critical thinking and more than one teacher development program over the last problem solving, which is âabsolutely necessaryâ in todayâs 10 years, please rate this program relative to the others. economy, Pacey said. Thirty-two percent of the teachers felt that it was the best The program partners with approximately 150 colleges program they had participated in so far, while another 42 and universities, 1,000 school districts across the United percent said it was superior to the other programs they had States and abroad, and 100 other organizations. For example, attended. When asked to rate the most effective aspects of the the South Korea Metropolitan School district recently sent program, the majority of teachers cited the close interactions 50 people for two weeks in two consecutive summers to with faculty members, with the laboratory experience being participate in the program. Corporate partners also have used the second-most cited factor. the program as a conduit to provide nearby schools with The AirUCI Institute plans to continue the workshops for desperately needed supplies. the foreseeable future, which may provide additional oppor- The Center for Chemistry Education has established a tunities for evaluation. Nizkorodov also noted that the work- set of best practices that call for the extensive use of teacher shops provide a valuable opportunity for graduate students leaders, mentoring teams, and collaboration with stakehold- and postdoctoral researchers to learn to accept responsibility ers, including government and industrial labs. The best for training teachers and communicating with the public. practices also call for learning activities that are content rich, pedagogically strong, and extended over time. Teachers and administrators participate in curriculum development, TERRIFIC SCIENCE, 25 YEARS OF OUTREACH IN implementation, and evaluation using what they have learned CHEMICAL EDUCATION in workshops. For example, after learning to measure pollut- Since âTerrific Science: Empowering Teachers Through ant levels in lake water, participants in a workshop might be Innovationâ was founded 25 years ago at Miami University asked what kind of inquiry-based module they could develop in Ohio, more than 22,000 teachers have participated in the for their students, given the constraints on equipment, sup- program. The leaders of other programs often ask how Ter- plies, and other resources. Teachers then implement the rific Science has reached such a large number of teachers, module in their classes, test it, improve it, and disseminate said Gil Pacey, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at it to other teachers. Miami University. The answer is that all of the workshops The program follows up with teachers for at least a year offered through Terrific Science, which range in length from after each workshop. For example, teachers might meet with a few days to two weeks, offer credit; Miami University has Terrific Science educators to discuss the implementation of waived all tuition in most cases; and funding agencies have a newly developed module. Some graduates of the program helped pay for housing and have offered stipends to teachers. also become facilitators for other teachers and eventually âWe hand out quite a lot of carrots,â Pacey said. teacher leaders who run workshops themselves. Pacey esti- Terrific Science, a nonprofit organization run by Miami mated that 10 percent of the teachers who go through the Universityâs Center for Chemistry Education, has produced program give papers at regional and national meetings based more than 250 professional development programs; more on what they have accomplished. He also estimated that the than 80 books, kits, and other resources; and an online average graduate of the program reaches 35 other teachers repository of more than 200 resources for teachers (http:// in the first two years after the workshop, greatly multiplying www.terrificscience.org). The program has received more the programâs effects. than $16 million in federal, state, and private funding to Pacey cited a number of lessons learned from the pro- increase scientific literacy and to stimulate interest in and gram. Scientific explanation without related experience has understanding of science. little impact on learners. Lifelong scientific literacy begins The vision of the program is to create engaging, motivat- with the attitudes and values established in childhood. How ing, and fun learning experiences. âWe bring chemistry and physical science is taught is as important as what is taught.
28 STRENGTHENING HIGH SCHOOL CHEMISTRY EDUCATION Instruction should build on childrenâs innate curiosity, pro- Teachersâ comments about the program are extremely vide firsthand experiences that involve all of the senses, be positive, as are comments from their students. In particular, connected to everyday experiences and observable phenom- students express more interest in science-related careers after ena, and provide connections among ideas. their teachers have participated in the program. Evaluations of the program have shown that the students The program also has found it necessary to do outreach to of participants spend more time doing laboratories that parents to convince them that science education is important involve taking measurements and doing graphical analyses for their children. But âwe have a major public relations of data. The students of teachers reached by the program problem, probably across the whole country,â Pacey said. also spend more time testing student-generated hypotheses. Ohio offers many examples of good and available jobs In tests of physical science learning supported by the Ohio that are related to science and technology. For example, Board of Regents, post-test scores for students in grades 3 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton will need 7,000 through 9 increased dramatically when their teachers had bachelorâs, masterâs, and Ph.D. scientists and engineers to gone through these programs. âTeachers learned how to replace retiring workers in the next five years. âWe donât translate information to their students in a more effective know where weâre going to get them, so we have to do a way,â Pacey said. sales job on parents,â said Pacey. âWe probably also have to do a sales job on [high school] counselors.â