Natural Resources, School of

 

Date of this Version

January 2000

Comments

Published in Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 48, 2000, p. 631. Copyright © 2000. Used by permission.

Abstract

To improve scientific literacy, K-12 educators need to: develop the ability to use and analyze data, incorporate data into their curriculum, and interact with teachers from other disciplines to create interdisciplinary units. A Process-Oriented Environmental Change Education workshop was conducted for eleven interdisciplinary teams, consisting of 21 teachers, in 1997 and 1998. The National Science Standards provided the criteria for the organization of the workshop. Inquiry and interpretation exercises helped to expand scientific knowledge and skills as well as the teachers’ use of technology. We explicitly discussed the uncertainty of science through group discussions and problem-solving activities. More than 85% of the teachers thought the goals and objectives of the workshop were clear, the instructional methods suitable for the stated goals, and the content understandable and logically presented. Our teachers were generally not confident in their ability to interpret data, which is not surprising considering that most teachers have not had the opportunity to do this type of analytical work. Clearly, the scientific community needs to find ways to boost teacher confidence in interpreting data using accepted scientific practice if we expect science education to improve.