" BES Project Abstracts 2005
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2005 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

How is ecology being taught in Baltimore Schools? A preliminary report from the Ecology Teaching Study
Alan R. Berkowitz, Janet Coffey, Janie Gordon, Carol Rinke, Stephanie Marudas and Becky Bell
Abstract: We conducted a study of how ecology is being taught in Baltimore City and County schools, focusing on the use of fieldwork, genuine data (from students or on- line sources), community resources and action projects. We also looked at the extent of teaching about the urban ecosystem, and at what factors support or constrain ecology teaching. An intensive study of ecology teaching was carried out by interviewing teachers and administrators in all of the public schools in Watershed 263 in the summer of 2004. An electronic and hard-copy survey of high school teachers in Baltimore City and County public and private schools who teach environmental science and biology was conducted in 2005. We received completed surveys from at least one teacher from 93% of the Baltimore County public school pool (105 surveys), 22% of the Baltimore City public school pool (20 surveys), 25% of the Baltimore City private school pool (5 surveys) and 1% of the Baltimore County private school pool (2 surveys), for a total of 132 surveys received. Preliminary results reveal a wide range of teaching practices and constraints. A preliminary analysis of patterns across teachers and schools in both studies will be presented, along with recommendations for next steps for research and for improving ecology teaching in the metropolis.