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The CSUN and LAUSD Collaborative Partnership for 6th Grade Earth Science Teacher Professional Development

G. Simila1, D. Hicks2, and D. McDonnell2
1California State University, Northridge, CA, [email protected]
2Los Angeles Unified School District, [email protected], [email protected]

Since 2005 the San Fernando Valley Science Project (SFVSP) at CSUN, funded by the California Science Project (CSP), has collaborated with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second largest school district (over 700,000 students), to provide professional development for 6th grade earth science teachers. We also partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M) to develop an immersion-based unit on plate tectonics. The UW-M project, entitled SCALE (System-wide Change for All Learners and Educators), was a NSF-funded program that teaches individuals involved in professional development (PD) how to teach K-12 instructors to conduct lessons that are fundamentally grounded on the “engage-explore-explain” principle rather than the “explain-investigate to confirm” traditional approach. To support the “engage-explore-explain” educational model, SCALE-led PD workshops provided content knowledge, pedagogical devices, scripts with options, and succinct, inexpensive instructional resources that teachers could comfortably use and appreciate. A team of four facilitators conducted each workshop. Team members generally represented the four groups involved in SCALE (a university-based content expert, an LAUSD representative, a SCALE representative, and an LAUSD teacher who has already been through the program). Although the program assessments are not complete, preliminary analysis of classroom observational data demonstrates that there are key pedagogical changes to the delivery of classroom lessons as a result of the PD and improvement of student learning. To supplement the immersion unit on earthquakes, we have also provided an AS-1 seismograph to record local and teleseismic earthquakes for real data analysis.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90088©2009 Pacific Section Meeting, Ventura, California, May 3-5, 2009