The Andrews Forest Program provides several opportunities for K-12 teacher professional development. Contact the Forest Director for information about upcoming teacher workshops.
Schoolyard LTER: Teachers as Researchers
This is our primary "LTER-funded" education activity. The goal of this project is to increase high school and middle school teachers' understanding of environmental science research by involving them in projects directly related to Andrews LTER research and to expand their capacity to engage their students in similar field-based science inquiry. Teachers work with Andrews LTER scientists, and some of the teachers who have been in the program in a previous year serve as "mentor-teachers" in subsequent years. The program has served 42 teachers and 4,400 students from a wide range of schools (based on 2011 numbers). Participants come from small rural schools, urban inter city schools, alternative schools, and charter schools. Many of the participants teach in Title I Schools (4 out of 11 in 2011) and those with high populations of English Language Learners. The program is structured around three 2-day workshops. For the first time in 2011, one of the workshops at the Andrews site and was scheduled to take place concurrent with field campaigns that are part of the LTER6 "Phenology" project. The project effectiveness is evaluated through workshop evaluations and formal evaluation of courses taught by the Oregon Natural Resources Education Program (ONREP) staff. The assessments indicate that engaging teachers with Andrews LTER researchers increased teachers' enthusiasm, knowledge and skills about environmental science-based inquiry. One teacher reported that, "I really appreciated having the opportunity to interact with various researchers. It was helpful to learn about current research they were conducting and then being able to brainstorm ways to apply similar field techniques at the high school level. I gained ideas about practical field inquiry studies I could do with my students from each researcher." Another teacher reported that, "...because once we experienced [field-based research], we became much more confident in actually doing it with our students." Click here for more information about the secondary teachers as researchers workshops and future plans for the partnership.
Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
The NSF-funded (RET) program matches K-12 teachers with scientists for 8-10 weeks of field data collection and independent research. The goal of the RET program is to enhance the professional development of K-12 science educators through research experience at the emerging frontiers of science in order to bring new knowledge into the classroom. Many of the RETs are recruited from our main Schoolyard LTER activity (the Teacher as Researchers (TaR) project) and many of them subsequently serve as teacher-leaders in the TaR and other teacher professional development projects. The RETs become intensely involved in individual research projects, and they are also exposed to our broader research program. For more information about past RET teachers and their projects, click here.
Leveraging the success of the "Teachers as Researchers" program, ONREP has secured NASA funding to expand that program into Researcher-Teacher Partnerships - Making global climate change relevant in the classroom. The Researcher-Teacher Partnerships project will help teachers (Grades 7 - 12) better understand the complexities of global climate change so that they can transfer this knowledge to their students in an effective, results-oriented manner. Through this experiential opportunity, teachers will strengthen their understanding of humans' relationship to the environment and come away with many skills, strategies, and tools they can use to engage their students as citizens.
Teaching Ecological Complexity
Formerly known as "Teachers in the Woods", Teaching Ecological Complexity helps train high school science teachers to conduct field ecology research at the Andrews Forest and use qualitative modeling to broaden their understanding of complexity, diversity, and ecology as a science. Teachers are supported throughout the year as they conduct field studies with their classes and instructional materials are provided online.
The Science Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE)
The SMILE Program of Oregon State University provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics enrichment and mentoring to 680 students in after-school science clubs throughout Oregon, as well as ongoing professional development for 60 elementary, middle, and high school teachers. The SMILE Program serves students from historically underserved populations, providing support for them to pursue higher education. For many years through the Schoolyard LTER program, The Andrews Forest worked with the SMILE Program to bring its research and expertise to SMILE teachers.