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ASU Prof, Researcher Receive NOAA Grant

July 31, 2012

An Angelo State University professor and an ASU research scientist have been awarded a $403,436 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for their project designed to improve Earth system science teaching practices in rural elementary schools.

The two-year grant will fund the Earth System Science for Elementary Teachers (ESSET) project headed by Dr. Christine Purkiss, associate professor of teacher education, and Dr. Kit Price Blount, sponsored projects research scientist. 

This pilot project will focus on professional development opportunities for 20 area kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers in a learner-centered outdoor environment, mainly concentrating on meteorology and climatology.  Participating teachers will also learn how to apply science content to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards-based curriculum and NOAA’s Education Strategic Plan. 

In addition, participating teachers will receive information on environmental stewardship concepts and how to integrate them into their teaching practices and science content.  The project focuses on smaller and rural school districts that must split limited resources between science classes and meeting reading and math accountability requirements.  Recruiting for this project will begin in October of 2012. 

The project will cover two long semesters and a summer term, and participating teachers will earn six graduate semester credit hours from ASU.  Included will be a spring semester online course focusing on teaching methods, inquiry-based science, project-based field science and outdoor science education.  A hands-on summer course will include a four-day “climate camp” for 100 local elementary students. 

The following fall semester will provide support for participants as they implement lessons and activities in their classrooms.  That will be followed by an ESSET spring conference on the ASU campus allowing participants to share what they have learned and present lessons from the project. 

For more information, contact Purkiss at 325-486-6954, Blount at 325-942-2526 or Katie Plum, director of the ASU Office of Sponsored Projects, at 325-942-2530.