STEM teaching workshop features aquatic science at Dallas Arboretum.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was the location of a mid-August workshop on teaching the new Aquatic Science curriculum for Texas. Workshop participants were largely educators who work for the Children’s Program at the Arboretum. These individuals have a multitude of education backgrounds – covering both formal and informal teaching. Some came with a formal science background, while others had specialties in teaching. The workshop was a huge hit. Many participants said they were definitely going to use the curriculum to teach their students. They felt that the curriculum was easily adaptable to their specific classroom or outdoor teaching venue and needs, and also offered good education information for young students as well as adult learners.
Texas Aquatic Science is a comprehensive curriculum for water and aquatic science studies for middle and high school use, plus application at the university level for non science majors. The curriculum consists of a textbook in hard copy and fully on line, a massive teachers resource and activity guide that includes assessments, specially produced videos, and 220 online video lessons all fully aligned with Texas teaching standards. It’s become the top-ranked curriculum and source for information on aquatic science on the internet today.
Texas Aquatic Science includes the Texas Aquatic Science curriculum textbook, teacher guide and activities, videos, on-line lessons, and curriculum website.
Workshops introduce participants to Texas Aquatic Science, a comprehensive aquatic science curriculum, from molecules to ecosystems, and headwaters to ocean, for middle school and high school students. Workshop participants navigate the online student portal, loaded with science investigations, games, models, cooperative learning activities, Internet projects, readings from the student guides, short videos, science journals, and field based assessments of water quality and environmental conditions in a variety of field trips. Most time is spent doing hands on activities from the Teacher Guide, over 700 pages of TEKS aligned, hands-on activities designed to engage all learners and all learner types. Lessons in each chapter begin with an activity to allow the teacher to assess what students know about the concepts to be studied. Lessons embed higher order thinking skills, provide depth and complexity of learning, and provide a wide variety of hands-on activities that engage students in many contexts and methods. Each lesson includes an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned by synthesizing the information and demonstrating their learning by developing creative products or performances.
For more information and background please take a look at this article Aquatic Science Curriculum Research to Improve STEM Water Education.
H2O is funded by the Ewing Halsell Foundation, San Antonio.
Photos by Susan Hankins, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University