SCI-TALKS (Supporting Community Initiatives for Teaching, Learning, and Knowing Science)
Three hundred students in grades 3 to 5 and 80 preservice educators will engage in an energy and environment after-school program utilizing hand-held probeware led by the preservice teachers in a non-traditional science methods course.
SCI-TALKS (Supporting Community Initiatives for Teaching, Learning, and Knowing Science), an ITEST strategies project, is designed to deliver after-school energy and environment (EE) education programs in community settings for rural low-income upper elementary students in West Virginia. The goal of SCI-TALKS is to provide pre-service and in-service teachers with professional development and technology resources to ensure that their students build workforce readiness skills through EE education program. Through guided inquiry, pre-service teachers will focus on developing "science" habits of mind. SCI-TALKS will impact 300 students and 88 educators. The project will foster the local community connections to implement the program effectively. SCI-TALKS will utilize two primary sources for curriculum: 1) the National Energy Education Development energy curriculum to support Appalachian students and teachers on the necessity of proper stewardship of energy and its use and 2) PASCO Elementary School Introductory Science Experiments with PASCO's SPARK system probeware to provide students with tools to collect authentic measurements, design experiments, and develop a sense of scientific curiosity about their world. Pre and post test data will be collected on student outcomes and compared to the data from the comparison groups. Active partnerships with local STEM industry, managed regionally by the Workforce Investment Board, will be maintained. The evaluation of the SCI-TALKS project will be conducted by an external evaluator with expertise in evaluation of after-school programs.