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Discovering The Link Between University And Industrial Environmental Research

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers – I

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.551.1 - 12.551.10



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Paper Authors

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Kimberly Ogden University of Arizona

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Gregory Ogden University of Arizona

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Discovering the Link Between University and Industrial Environmental Research Abstract

The University of Arizona has run a Research Experiences for Teachers Program funded by NSF for 10 years. This RET site teams together the University of Arizona (UA), City of Tucson Environmental Management Division, Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson Electric and Power Company, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), Marana Unified School District (MUSD), Nogales School District, and other districts in Pima County, Arizona. Annually, 6 UA faculty from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, 4 to 6 industrial mentors, 2 project evaluators, 12 to 14 teachers (ideally elementary + half math and half science secondary teachers), 8 pre-service teachers, 2 teacher leaders, and 8 undergraduate or graduate engineering students are part of the RET Site activities. These individuals impact around 2000 students annually. The individuals comprise 4 teams consisting of 4 teachers from the same school, 2 pre- service teachers, 2 engineering students, 1 faculty, and 1 industrial mentor. The overall objective is for teachers and pre-service teachers to work on environmental discovery-based research projects for 5 weeks during the summer, and transfer the knowledge learned directly to the K-12 classroom through core curriculum enrichment. The research plan provides a unique opportunity for participants to experience both laboratory projects and industrial scale applications. The projects focus on remediation of organics, metals removal, denitrification using alternative electron acceptors, and biofilm removal. In addition to research, the teams work together to improve classroom pedagogy. Teams attend workshops on current standards related to their discipline, inquiry based learning, stressing/encouraging problem solving as opposed to memorization, and minority and gender equity in the classroom. Teacher leaders from TUSD and MUSD lead some of these workshops. The pre-service teachers intern with the teachers during the following academic year to aid transfer of new knowledge gained from the RET experience into the classroom. In addition, project evaluators, faculty, industrial mentors, and engineering students visit the K-12 classroom during the academic year.


There are two major opportunities for improvement of science and math teaching. One of these is to increase teachers’ familiarity with the National Science and Math Education Standards 1-3 and to convince the teachers of the value of guiding instruction by the use of those Standards. The intent of the Standards is that science and math be taught with an emphasis on depth rather than on breadth of coverage, as has been the pattern in U. S. education. The developers of the Standards propose that fewer topics be taught to a deeper conceptual level, so that students develop an understanding of the big ideas, which can then be applied to other areas. One emphasis of the science Standards is on teaching science as a process of inquiry, honoring students’ prior understanding of the natural world around them and building upon that by allowing students to investigate questions they themselves frame. When teachers and school districts develop their science and math core curriculum around the Standards, a more coherent program of instruction emerges; equity for all students and excellence of instruction are achievable.

Ogden, K., & Ogden, G. (2007, June), Discovering The Link Between University And Industrial Environmental Research Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3021

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