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Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

  • Louis M McDonald
  • Gay B Stewart
  • Jeffrey S Carver
Award Date:09/11/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 306,036
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 306,036
  • FY 2019=$306,036
Start Date:09/01/2019
End Date:08/31/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:GP-IMPACT: Improving Geoscience Education for Rural and First-Generation College Students through a Shared-Instruments Collaboration
Federal Award ID Number:1911347
DUNS ID:191510239
Program Officer:
  • Brandon Jones
  • (703) 292-4713

Awardee Location

Street:P.O. Box 6845
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:West Virginia University
Street:G150 South Agricultural Sciences
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Part 1 The West Virginia University's (WVU) Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geology and Geography, College of Education and Human Services and Center for Excellence in STEM Education are working together to develop regionally-relevant classroom activities and community-based participatory research projects to bridge the high school (HS) to college divide while creating the HS teachers needed to sustain such work past funding through WVUteach, WVU's HS STEM teacher preparation program. The researchers will create a new teacher licensure in Earth and Space Science (ESS) to increase the number of qualified geoscience teachers in West Virginia (WV) schools. The project brings together a leadership team with expertise in supervising undergraduate research and teaching in the geosciences, research on recruitment and retention to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) majors and careers, and science teacher preparation provides a rich opportunity to develop a model of geoscience teacher development that can significantly change the way geoscience is taught in HS. The proposed evidence-based model assumes that students are more likely to engage in the geosciences if they have meaningful opportunities to engage with real-world problems using modern instruments incorporated into project-based instruction (PBI). If the model proves efficacious, the project team's close connections with UTeach leadership will allow dissemination throughout the 45 UTeach universities which currently enroll over 6,000 future STEM teachers, engaging this community in a potential long-term research project to study the impact on what is taught in geoscience classrooms and how that impacts students' choice of geoscience majors and careers. Part 2 In 2017, over 50% of geoscientists at all degree levels (69% doctoral) reported having taken a HS geoscience course, demonstrating the importance of offering such courses at the HS level to participation in the field at the university level and beyond. The WV Department of Education adapted the Next Generation Science Standards and restructured the HS science curriculum to include an ESS class for all WV 9th graders. WVDE policy allows any teacher with science certification to teach ESS courses, as pathways to obtain ESS certification are limited. Yet teachers from other disciplines are unlikely to be able to expose students to geosciences career possibilities, and the largest producers of teachers in WV (including WVU) do not have an ESS Certification pathway. There is also a lack of direct access to analytical instruments that can connect PBI and 'real' science, in both HS and undergraduate courses. In a step toward solving this problem, this project will provide the WV teaching workforce with the ideal expertise to engage HS students in solving community-based problems through research projects using modern instruments incorporated into PBI to create a deeper sense of learning. These teachers' preparation will include utilizing PBI to engage HS students in conducting community-based research. Pre-service teachers will be prepared in undergraduate research, research methods and teaching methods courses to conduct in-situ geochemical analyses using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) instruments to engage students in answering scientific questions, skills that they will bring to the classroom as pre-service and later, in-service teachers. Thus, teachers and students will be provided with access to easy-to-use, transportable devices to provide data relevant to many scientific questions of interest to students in the region. These devices will be shared in courses that prepare future geoscientists and STEM teachers and by teacher graduates, strengthening the geosciences pathway across HS and college. The proposed project will increase the number of HS students who arrive at college aware of geosciences majors and career opportunities by providing them with ESS teachers who can educate students about the nature of geoscience research and research methods. By integrating pXRF instruments into the proposed undergraduate research, research methods and teaching methods courses and into WV HS classrooms and creating a sense of place-based science, we will create a pipeline to encourage students to enter the geosciences. The project will enrich classrooms for mentor HS teachers who host participating preservice student teachers, providing these teachers professional development and exposing their students to enhanced community-based research projects using modern instruments, further increasing impact. This will be sustained after the project's conclusion as it will be embedded in the WVUteach program, producing licensed teachers prepared to engage their students in research. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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