Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2009 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Baltimore Partnership for Environmental Science Literacy
Caplan, Bess
Co-Authors: Bess Caplan, Tim Meyers, Trevor Shattuck, Alan R. Berkowitz, Sarah Haines

Abstract: The Baltimore Partnership for Environmental Science Literacy is a five year research project aimed at improving Baltimore area teacher and student knowledge in the environmental sciences. The Baltimore Partnership is part of the multi-site Culturally Relevant Ecology, Learning Progressions and Environmental Literacy, Math Science Partnership (MSP) project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project focuses on the critical education juncture of students in grades 6-12. Universities and research centers associated with four Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs across the nation are collaborating with school districts to a) define essential pathways for achieving environmental science literacy, and b) to develop and test teacher professional development programs that help accomplish this ambitious goal through innovative instruction in the sciences in middle and high schools. The changes needed within institutions of higher education and the schools to sustain effective environmental science teaching will be explored and implemented. BES has partnered with Towson University and the Baltimore City and County School Systems in implementing the MSP project. During year 1 of the Baltimore Partnership, BES and Towson University delivered two types of professional development programs: an 8 day teacher workshop that involved 14 teachers, and a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that involved 4 teachers. The teachers in the RET program conducted summer research projects alongside BES scientists and Towson University professors while enrolled in a 6 week graduate course on Investigating Urban Ecosystems. The 18 middle and high school teachers involved in these two programs plan to implement curriculum materials in their science classes based on the content and experiences they gained from these summer programs.