The Texas State Aquarium-Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in STEM Education Science Collaborative will work with 31 science teachers (grades 5-12) Science Teacher Mentors (STMs) to provide a minimum of 100 hours of professional development that will stimulate the science teachers’ intellectual growth and enhance their knowledge and skills. Teachers from grades 5-8 will be the target population of the grant. The primary goal of the grant will be to enhance our science teachers’ knowledge and pedagogy so that students will improve their knowledge of and performance on Matter science concepts as outlined in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These goals are essential for our students to be successful in a global society that has ever increasing needs for a workforce with skills in science and technology.
The program will kick of the year with a week-long Summer Science Institute in July that will have the STMs examining coal and coal mining at the San Miguel Coal Mine. They will look at the chemistry involved in all aspects of the mining process giving special emphasis to coastal and Gulf of Mexico interactions and they will also interact with the scientists and engineers on site.
Throughout the school year the STMs will receive additional professional development that will include West Ed Making Sense of Science: Matter training as well as Assessment for Learning training to help STMs teach the matter science TEKS for grades 5-8.
The Texas State Aquarium collaborative will continue to provide outreach training to a minimum of 88 Cadre Members (CMs) for a minimum of 12 hours each. Each STM will also be responsible for mentoring another teacher for a minimum of 12 hours.
The program will be evaluated in a number of ways. The teacher content knowledge improvement will be measured using a pre- and post-test exam. We will also examine the impact on student performance by examining the STAAR scores of participating teachers and immersion campuses.