Partners in Science Education: GK-12 Fellows at CU-Boulder
University of Colorado
The first annual "Teaching Evolution: Meeting the Challenge" symposium for local professors, graduate students, school teachers, and other science educators convened in August 2005 at the University of Colorado. Four speakers from the university presented on: evolution in historic perspective, evolution in textbooks, molecular trees, and ideas for teaching evolution. A discussion followed with additional questions on whether religious points of view can be reconciled with science. The more than 100 participants from 25 schools and institutions received an annotated curriculum and web resource guide, and a CD containing curriculum files. Response to the symposium was overwhelmingly positive with approximately 30% of participants indicating they would teach evolution differently as a result of their experience. Suggestions from participants will shape the next event, which will be centered on K-12 education and include practical workshops for teachers. Major support for organizing the symposium was provided by an NSF GK12 grant to an interdisciplinary group of researchers and graduate fellows at the University of Colorado. The enthusiastic response of local science educators and the increasing media coverage critical of intelligent design creationism in Colorado suggests that such outreach events from academic centers can make a positive difference in the local teaching of evolution.