- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758292
- First Name J. Michael
- Last Name Wyss
- Discipline Biology, Engineering
J Michael Wyss, University of Alabama at Birmingham
While many Noyce graduates initially teach at underserved/high needs schools, the graduates soon migrate to less high needs schools once their payback requirements are fulfilled. The UAB CESAME program is directed at using summer teaching experiences in middle school Summer Science Camps and HS Summer Science Institutes to provide the Noyce scholars with 2 important experiences. 1. the preservice teachers can carry out inquiry-based STEM education in an atmosphere that is relaxed and less scripted than that of the classroom. This allows the teachers in training to learn how to use discovery-based methods to educate their students. Also, the fact that the camps and institutes have about 30% privileged students and 70% underrepresented minority students, helps the teachers in training to develop skills of working with diverse students.
1. Usefulness of informal education to translate to classroom. 2. Does informal inquiry make teachers more flexible/innovative in the formal classroom. 3. Do the facilitators become leaders in their school’s STEM arena?
The camps and Institutes are staffed by a UAB science major (providing the skills and knowledge of science) and area MS./HS teachers who provide insights to the Noyce scholars relative to classroom management. The training is also developed so that all camps/institutes are geared to the curriculum for a given grade (e.g., rising 7th grade students learn about biology and genetics (the 7th grade NGSS focus). This assists teachers in realizing how these type of inquiry-based experiences can facilitate a NGSS-based instruction plan.
22% of the facilitators who had no interest in teaching prior to the summer experience, became Noyce teachers and are still in education. 18% of UAB Noyce scholars were facilitators in the Comps/Institutes and 100% of them are still in teaching. All camp/institute scholars still use lessons learning in the camps in their classrooms.
Teacher and UAB student facilitators reported learning many new laboratory skills, developing the abilities to use scientific equipment, and improving their abilities to teach through inquiry. Teacher facilitators reported that they used many of the activities from the camps in their classrooms. More than 87% of all campers reported that they had learned a lot and had fun at the camps (science learning in summer is fun). Concerning pre/post data, students have in general not done as well on questions that include numbers and many have poor math skills and number sense but display improvement over the week.