Integrated Science Teaching Enhancement Partnership
Florida Institute of Technology
A new partnership with Brevard Public Schools [Integrated Science Teaching Enhancement Partnership (InSTEP)] is designed to foster student interest in science while boosting teacher confidence in science content and inquiry-based instruction. Each year, eight science graduate students are matched with eight high school Integrated Science (IS) teachers to develop and pilot a series of learning modules that link core content areas. Using “ocean exploration” as a common theme, the program takes advantage of Florida’s coastal resources and student awareness of local ocean-related issues. In addition to assisting with classroom instruction and serving as content resources for teachers, Graduate Fellows coordinate bi-monthly seminars presented by nationally recognized scientists. K-12 students, teachers, and parents are encouraged to attend these seminars that are open to the public and hosted by one of the partner schools. Topics have included (1) global warming and climate change, (2) tsunamis, (3) mysteries and misconceptions of sharks, and (4) conservation and protection marine mammals. Seminars are videotaped and distributed on DVD and the web for use by all district classrooms. Fellows meet with the speaker after the seminar to discuss their experiences with community and educational outreach. Speakers offer tips on presenting to diverse and non-scientific audiences. Fellows are extremely positive—viewing the speakers as successful role models who can successfully infuse education with the excitement of research.