UNCP hosts program for area science teachers
By Scott Bigelow
Testing soil samples - Frances Gilchrist, left, pours a sample
into a beaker as Sherry Locklear, middle, and Tracy Hyman assist.
When hands-on science results in dirty hands, that's when the fun and
Sixteen middle and high school science teachers participated in an
environmental science education workshop in July on the campus of The
University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The weeklong program, called
GLOBE, supports science education by training teachers how to use hands-on
science in their classrooms.
The workshop was the first of several professional development activities
to be offered through UNCP as part of a North Carolina Quest grant received
earlier this year.
Day three of the workshop found teachers discovering the scientific
properties of dirt. Dirty hands aside, the teachers said the program
"Besides teaching us a lot of stuff we can use in the classroom,
we get a lot of resources too," said Dan Geiger, a science teacher
at Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville.
"My students are really going to have fun with this," said
Thomas Burgess of West Hoke Middle School. "They will enjoy getting
their hands dirty."
Geiger said keeping up with new science is difficult for teachers,
and programs to update skills are important.
"Scientific knowledge is doubling something like every five years,
and as a teacher, it is like trying to give students a drink through
a fire hose," Geiger said.
Teachers as Students - Dan Geiger, left, looks on as his lab
Thomas Burgess pours a solution.
GLOBE offers teachers some fun and educational projects that teach
students the scientific process, or how to learn science by doing science,
said Rachel McBroom, UNCP's science education coordinator and campus
"GLOBE is about students learning science by doing science; not
just being talked to about science" McBroom said.
Karen Gerringer, NC Quest coordinator for the UNC Center for School
Leadership Development, said the program has touched more than a million
students at 12,000 schools in over 100 countries.
"There are more than 20,000 GLOBE trained teachers," Gerringer
said. "It helps science teachers with teaching skills, and it gives
them the resources to do it."
"This is a hands-on program, but it is aligned with the North
Carolina standard course of study too," she said.
Besides discovering the pH, density and fertility of soil, there were
sections on Global Positioning Systems, meteorology, hydrology and more.
Scientific inquiry - taking measurements using scientific equipment,
analyzing data, using the Internet - were all part of this "real
"The GLOBE program is viewed as a constructivist approach or an
'anchored' instruction," McBroom said. "In this approach,
students are placed in situations in which inquiry and problem solving
An NC Quest "Improving the Teacher Quality" grant paid participants
a stipend, and teachers also received continuing education units for
the 30-hour workshop. The program was funded by a $250,000 grant from
the U.S. Department of Education and the University of North Carolina
Division of University-School programs.
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