Preparing Next Generation Scientists Through Teacher and Extension Science Partnerships and Schoolyard Citizen Science Investigations in Elementary Schools

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Research shows a need for professional development (PD) that builds K-5 teachers' ability to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science practices into the classroom and supports their implementation of reform-minded science instruction. The Schoolyard SITES research study and PD program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) partners elementary teachers with UNH Extension science volunteers to bring locally-relevant citizen science projects to elementary students and to increase teachers’ self-efficacy teaching science. With support from science volunteers, teachers develop investigations that feature student learning goals aligned with the NGSS and involve existing citizen science projects. Preliminary results of this NSF-funded study characterize the nature of the volunteer-teacher partnership and indicate that teachers benefit from it. Specifically, teachers demonstrate gains in self-efficacy teaching science plus each curriculum project engages students with several science practices and includes complementary elements of a citizen science project.

Co-PI(s): Sameer Honwad, SUNY Buffalo; Erik Froburg and Malin Clyde, University of New Hampshire

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