June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1519.1 - 12.1519.16
University of Arkansas Science Partnership Program Abstract
In 2005, the College of Engineering and the College of Education and Health Professions formed a partnership to assist the Northwest Arkansas Education Renewal Zone in engaging students in hands-on, standards-based science activities. It is well established that “hands-on” activities enhance the learning experience in the classroom,1,2 and this is particularly true for English Language Learners (ELLs), who make up a significant fraction of some Northwest Arkansas schools. The University of Arkansas Science Partnership Program focuses on the professional growth of 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teachers through three summer institutes and follow-up activities. Teachers are teamed with engineering faculty to improve teaching skills and to increase the teachers’ use, understanding and application of selected laboratory exercises. The Partnership Program consists of three parts: classroom/laboratory instruction at the institutes using a number of hands-on activities that can and will be used in the classroom; follow-up activities at the middle school/junior high schools; and evaluation, both during and after the summer institutes.
The essence of the University of Arkansas Science Partnership Program (UASPP) is the word “partnership.” The genesis of this partnership occurred during discussions between faculty who work in vastly different areas of the campus. Despite their apparent dissimilarities, it became clear that there are many common goals and interests. It became even clearer that it was possible to make those common goals and interests intersect in creative ways to improve science education, contribute to the recruitment strategies for both colleges and conduct a research project that would examine the effectiveness of the activities implemented.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the partnership developed to undertake the UASPP, its organization, the program itself, to present a sampling of the hands-on activities used in year one of the program, and to provide some preliminary findings regarding the teachers’ evaluation of the first institute. Since the program is still in the early stages of implementation, the results do not include qualitative data from the follow-up activities or the quantitative standardized test scores for students. We expect to have all these data available by the end of the three-year program.
One truism about higher education is that many valuable endeavors can be implemented in numerous areas of a campus and rarely do all areas of the campus seem to be well-informed. The same is true for the The University of Arkansas Colleges of Engineering and Education and Health Professions. In fact, if you asked the faculty of each college, most would probably stare blankly if asked how the goals of these two particular colleges intersect. The primary purpose of Engineering is to prepare engineers and one of the primary purposes of the College of Education and Health Professions is to prepare public school teachers. What these authors discovered is that actually, these interests intersect in very important ways. Engineering has an interest in
Davis, S., & Gattis, C., & Clausen, E. (2007, June), University Of Arkansas Science Partnership Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1759
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