Science Club Summer Camp (SC2): Training Teachers and Youth in Authentic STEM Practice

  • Abstract

    Science Club Summer Camp (SC2) is a practicum-based teacher professional development program for elementary school teachers, aligned to the recently released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It seeks to address well-described gaps in the scientific training of elementary teachers that threaten the effective implementation of NGSS and interrupt development of early youth science skills. We offer that the best way to prepare a future STEM and biomedical workforce is to help improve NGSS-aligned instruction at the K-5 level.

    SC2 uses an integrated approach to train Chicago Public School teachers and youth in the nature of science. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, master science teachers, NGSS experts, and youth development staff will collaborate to incorporate the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Crosscutting Concepts, and science and engineering practices into both out-of-school time learning at a summer camp and academic year instruction. Program participants will also learn about NGSS connections to health and biomedicine through interactions with practicing scientists, visits to research labs, and inquiry into health phenomena.

    Over the course of the program, we will train 64 teachers and more than 2000 youth in authentic science and health practices. A multi-faceted evaluation plan will assess the impact of our program on teacher beliefs, knowledge, and understanding of the NGSS, and the degree to which their training results in changes to their instructional practice. Additionally, we will help teachers design critical NGSS-aligned assessment tools as measures of student learning. These instruments will provide early evidence on the connections between NGSS-aligned instruction and deeper student learning.

    In addition to addressing the acute need for NGSS-aligned teacher professional development strategies, and high quality summer learning opportunities for disadvantages youth, it is our expectation that this “dual use” approach will serve as a model for future teacher professional development programs that seek to bridge learning in formal and informal environments and strengthen academic-community partnerships.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    All materials, practice guides, evaluation instruments, and software products developed as part of this proposal will be shared broadly with the education community. All materials will be posted on the project’s website, as well as linked to from our broader Science in Society office website.

    In addition, we plan on sharing the results of this project widely at national meetings and publishing the results of our professional development approach in peer-reviewed journals.

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    Teacher pre/post surveys and interviews
    Classroom observation
    Action Research
    NGSS-aligned student assessment

Project Audience

Elementary teachers, elementary youth.

Subjects Addressed

Next Generation Science Standards, nature of science, inquiry-based science, authentic health and biomedicine research.