Wednesday, August 6, 2008: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
202 C, Midwest Airlines Center
OOS 17 - Training Biology Teachers in Ecological Research
A new program, Teaching Ecological Complexity, is working to develop a heightened capacity for ecological thinking among high school biology teachers. Funded by an NSF grant (ESIE # 0554379), the training program uses immersion in challenging ecology research projects and tools and procedures related to qualitative modeling and simulation. Science teachers work in partnership with ecologists, conducting field research projects and using conceptual qualitative modeling in each of five simultaneous training workshops at HJ Andrews LTER (temperate forest), Luquillo LTER (tropical forest), Jornada LTER (Chihuahuan Desert), Central Arizona Urban Desert LTER, and Shortgrass Steppe LTER (dry grasslands). The differences and similarities between these ecosystems are emphasized through intersite comparisons of three datasets: terrestrial arthropod diversity, litter decomposition, and vegetation cover. A series of qualitative conceptual models are drawn by teachers as they proceed through the steps of inquiry. The reflective use of these models helps teachers to restructure their understanding about ecosystem processes. This project also provides training for professional development providers from nature centers, with an opportunity to extend their ecological knowledge and teacher workshop leadership skills at training of trainers sessions. This collaboration has lead to meaningful real-world opportunities that participating teachers incorporate into their students’ work; this authenticity is the “hook” many teachers find so successful in generating student interest. Teachers' ecological content knowledge, knowledge about ecological complexity, and classroom practices are measured before and after their participation in these training sessions. Results of the impact on teacher learning from each site's training programs, the value of the inter-site comparisons of data, descriptions of two participating teachers' work with their classrooms, and results from our training sessions that help nature centers to develop their own teacher training sessions will be discussed. Overall impacts of these approaches in developing ecological literacy will also be discussed.
Organizer:Marion Dresner, Portland State University
Moderator:Lynda Moore, Portland State University
1:30 PMTowards an understanding of complexity in disturbed tropical forests: The experience of science teachers in Puerto Rico
Jorge Ortiz, University of Puerto Rico
1:50 PMEcosystem research with alternative high school students
Sam Koss, Merlo High School
2:10 PMPromoting field science in Puerto Rico: Towards a new paradigm in the teaching of tropical ecology
Elliot Lopez-Machado, Juan Ponce de León HS, Jorge Ortiz-Zayas, University of Puerto Rico, Carlos Domínguez-Cristobal, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Clara Abad, Puerto Rico Department of Education, Aurea Berrios, Puerto Rico Department of Education, Hilca Nieves, Puerto Rico Department of Education, Steven McGee, The Learning Partnership, Jess K. Zimmerman, University of Puerto Rico
2:30 PMEnvironmental learning in marine expeditions with high-school students
Edgar Caballero-Aspe, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Laura Barraza, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
2:50 PMAcorn preference and squirrel caching behavior: Teaching behavioral ecology in the park
Amy B. McEuen, University of Illinois at Springfield, Michael A. Steele, Wilkes University
3:10 PMBreak
3:20 PMTeachers and pitfall trapping experimentation across 5 LTER sites
Andrew Moldenke, Oregon State University
3:40 PMTeachers on the prairie: Models of schoolyard adaptations of ecological research
John C. Moore, Colorado State University, Kimberly Melville-Smith, Colorado State University
4:00 PMTeachers in the desert: Creating ecological research opportunities for teachers and students on the US-Mexico border
Stephanie V. Bestelmeyer, Asombro Institute for Science Education, Rink Somerday, Asombro Institute for Science Education
4:20 PMTeachers in the woods: Qualitative conceptual modeling, research experiences, and conceptual change
Marion Dresner, Portland State University
4:40 PMBringing current ecological research to the classroom through inquiry-based activities that utilize actual scientific methods
Larisa R. G. DeSantis, University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History

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See more of The 93rd ESA Annual Meeting (August 3 -- August 8, 2008)