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Effects Of Elementary And Middle School Based Gk 12 Programs On Graduate Student Teaching And Communication Skills

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

K-12 Outreach Initiatives

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.511.1 - 9.511.12



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Paper Authors

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Steven Fisher

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Jed Lyons

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

Session 2530

Effects of Elementary- and Middle School-Based GK-12 Programs On Graduate Student Teaching and Communication Skills

Jed S. Lyons, Steven P. Fisher University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208


The NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education program at the University of South Carolina supports engineering graduate students and advanced undergraduates to serve as content resources in local schools. A primary objective is to develop the teaching and communication skills of the fellows, who can become the faculty of the future. This GK-12 program includes three main elements: a service learning component where the fellows work ten hours each week with teachers and students; an education course developed specifically for the fellows; and a GK-12 Summer Institute for Teachers designed and taught by the fellows.

During the 2001-2002 academic school year, eleven fellows were partnered with teachers in elementary schools. During the 2002-2003 school year, a second cohort of ten fellows was partnered with middle school teachers. This paper compares and contrasts the elementary school-based and the middle school-based programs in terms of their effects on the fellows’ teaching and communication skills. Qualitative and quantitative assessment data collected from the fellows, the teachers, and the fellow’s advisors is evaluated. Results indicate that both approaches are effective in improving the fellows’ teaching abilities. There is also some indication that the elementary school-based program may have been slightly more effective.


The College of Engineering and Information Technology received an award from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program to support fellowships and associated training that will enable graduate students in engineering to serve as resources in K-12 schools1. The University of South Carolina is one of over 100 institutions funded by NSF through this program. Some of these awards have been described 2-6 and have provided guidance for the development, implementation and assessment of our efforts. This three-year program seeks to improve the teaching and communication skills of 30 engineering students, to enhance the ability of 120 elementary school teachers to use engineering applications to teach science, and to inspire thousands of elementary children.

A major objective of this and other GK-12 projects is to improve science learning of students and assist in the professional development of teachers in grades 3-8. These groups are targeted because this is the time when most young people are either turned-on, or turned-off, to science. Too often, science and mathematics are viewed by the students as facts and figures to memorize, Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Fisher, S., & Lyons, J. (2004, June), Effects Of Elementary And Middle School Based Gk 12 Programs On Graduate Student Teaching And Communication Skills Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13700

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