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Earth Core: Enhancing Delivery of Geoscience Content in a Diverse School System During Times of Changing State Standards

Abstract

"The Earth Core program provided a one week earth science content workshop to urban public school sixth grade teachers who lacked geoscience training with the goal of increasing participants' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and confidence in teaching earth science. The workshop evolved from a concern that teachers would not have the training or experience required to engage students with earth science material due to new state standards switching geoscience instruction from 8th to 6th grade. The program, aligned to Cochran's (1992) five suggestions for enhancing teachers' PCK, was designed to encourage participants to reflect by sharing teaching ideas, discuss what we found to be often nave earth science conceptions, share lesson plan ideas, and conduct action research. Field trips facilitated a bonding experience that encouraged collaboration by participants, and interactive lesson activities helped participants recognize their limited knowledge of earth science. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods were used in a mixed methods approach to this study. Participant confidence in teaching earth science was slightly elevated after the workshop. The study suggested that teachers realized how little earth science understanding they have after being confronted with advanced level geoscience concepts."

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