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ERIC Number: EJ882116
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1446-6120
Incorporating Informal Learning Environments and Local Fossil Specimens in Earth Science Classrooms: A Recipe for Success
Clary, Renee M.; Wandersee, James H.
Science Education Review, v8 n2 p47-57 2009
In an online graduate paleontology course taken by practicing Earth Science teachers, we designed an investigation using teachers' local informal educational environments. Teachers (N = 28) were responsible for photographing, describing, and integrating fossil specimens from two informal sites into a paleoenvironmental analysis of the landscape in which the fossils were originally deposited. Our practicing teachers also developed mini-units for their individual classrooms, utilizing the fossils and the informal sites they investigated. Not only did teachers develop a multitude of innovative and effective activities, but they were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about incorporating aspects of local informal sites within their individual classrooms. Content analysis of teachers' anonymous responses revealed three stable findings: 1) The informal sites and local fossils affirmed the importance of the local environment and put it into a larger context, 2) directed student activities within informal sites can maximize learning, and 3) informal sites provide a context for information and can supply an interdisciplinary "big picture" for students. We propose that directed interdisciplinary investigations that incorporate the local environment may enhance science learning at informal education sites. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A