Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Baltimore Partnership for Environmental Science Literacy
Caplan, Bess
Co-Authors: Bess Caplan, A. R. Berkowitz, S. Haines, C. Harris, E. Keeling, T. Grant, R. Foot, T. Newcomer, P. Bond

Abstract: The Baltimore Partnership for Environmental Science Literacy (BPESL) 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 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. BPESL has entered its second full program year. As in year 1, year 2 activities include two types of summer professional development programs: an 8 day teacher workshop, and a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. Teachers from both programs will attend 5 additional all day workshops during the school year. New to Year 2 of the project is the implementation of teaching experiments on the topics of water, carbon and biodiversity. These teaching experiments and associated student assessments were introduced to teachers during the summer programs with the expectations that each teacher will implement at least one teaching experiment in their 2010-2011 classroom. These experiments are the focal point of "student thinking" research for the multi-site project.