Advisor

William Becker

Date of Award

4-14-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science

Department

Science Teaching

Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 97 pages)

Abstract

With the recent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in Oregon, there is a great need for teachers to be trained to effectively implement the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in their teaching. Time and location are the largest constraining factors that affect teacher participation in professional development trainings. To address this constraint, Tryon Creek State Park offered a NGSS professional development training opportunity for teachers that was integrated within a field trip that they took their students on. Before the field trip, teachers were introduced to the NGSS through a set of NGSS pre-field trip materials which informed them about the NGSS and how aspects of it would be integrated into their students' field trip. Teachers accompanied their students on a two-hour long field trip at Tryon Creek State Park where teachers observed nature guides model NGSS-aligned activities for the students. My research aimed to answer the following question: How will an informal science education program at Tryon Creek State Park affect K-2 teachers' awareness of the Next Generation Science Standards? Outcomes were measured through a pre/post retrospective survey and follow-up interviews. On the survey teachers reported little awareness of the three dimensions of the NGSS and very few of the teachers increased their understanding after the treatment. On the other hand, most had a high level of awareness and confidence in teaching factual information supporting the NGSS prior to treatment, resulting in a ceiling effect. Interviews suggested that few teachers read the materials sent in advance of the field trip, but teachers who did read the materials indicated increases in understanding of the NGSS. During the field trip several of the nature guides were effective in modeling science and engineering practices. These findings suggest that this method of professional development is promising, but needs further refinement.

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