Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Teaching Earth Science in a Nontraditional, Teacher Education Program

Event Name/Location

2004 Denver Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, November 7-10, 2004

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Science education at the undergraduate level focuses by necessity on content, often to the disadvantage of scientific philosophy. Preservice teachers require content knowledge to prepare for teaching in the classroom. In addition to content, education curricula focus on delivery methods and best practices. However, education programs may neglect to insure that preservice teachers understand natural science philosophy and scientific method. For example, while each student in Union Institute & University's (UI&U) education program is required to complete 12 semester hours in natural science and mathematics, the program has not implemented specific outcomes in scientific foundations or philosophy. The program trusts faculty to present the scientific method during introductory-level courses, but does not insure this outcome through policy or testing. Faculty surveys of other institutions in Florida indicate other education programs have similar problems.

As part of a university-sponsored grant, the author has developed a science foundations course which balances content and natural science philosophy. The author designed the course for the average undergraduate learner, with a special emphasis on the needs of the preservice teacher. Because UI&U is a nontraditional institution, the course also is designed for the learner who rarely, if ever, meets with the course instructor. In order to insure proper understanding of science philosophy and method, the author has implemented inquiry-based activities. The course design includes tutorial, live, and online course material.

The author will present survey results from preservice teachers and faculty from traditional and nontraditional institutions, collected during the design phase of this course. The author will also discuss results of the course design, specific learning activities, evaluation, and best practices.


© Copyright 2004 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.

Additional Comments

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 36, No. 5, p.15

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