University of Washington in the High school: Earth Science 101



Welcome participants in this professional development opportunity for UWHS Earth Science 101 teachers!

This work is part of University of Washington Prof. Kate Huntington’s NSF CAREER project (NSF EAR-0955309) integrating research and education to investigate Himalayan tectonics using bedrock thermochronology and the detrital record preserved downstream of the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis.  Kate’s research website is here.

UW Earth Science in the High School

The University of Washington (UW) Department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) is supporting teacher professional development and student registration costs to expand its Earth Science course. This course is currently offered through the UW in the High School (UWHS) program, a concurrent enrollment program that enables high school students to earn both high school and college credit.

Earth Science 101 is a university-level laboratory course surveys the physical systems that give our planet its form and Earth processes and natural hazards at play in our own communities. The course emphasizes the dynamic nature of interior and surface processes and their relevance to mankind and stresses the value of rocks and landforms in understanding past events.

Teacher Recruitment Flyer [PDF]

Teacher Application [PDF] application closed for 2011

Teacher Welcome to the program [PDF]

Motivation: Targeting high schools to increase participation of minorities in science

Minority students enter college with similar intent to pursue science or engineering careers as Caucasian students[1], yet minorities and women are disproportionately lost from the college science ‘pipeline’[2].  Americans from these groups are underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce and among science Ph.D.’s[3-5], and increasing their participation it is critical in order to capitalize on their talents and keep the US competitive in a global economy. 

Targeting high-achieving high school students has been shown to be an effective means to improve participation of underrepresented minorities in science[2]. This project seeks to bring university-level Earth Science (for college credit) to high schools with a high proportion of minority students, building on existing partnerships and infrastructure of the UW in the High School program.

44 to 85% of the student populations in Cohort 1 schools come from underrepresented groups (ethnic or racial minorities).

Project goals

•Increase student knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, materials, processes, and history within the framework of plate tectonics.

•Increase student understanding of the relevance of Earth processes to mankind, including the role of natural hazards, resources and climate in society.

•Increase students’ science literacy, understanding of research processes, and preparedness for higher education.

•Increase teachers’ knowledge of Earth science.

•Increase teachers’ abilities and confidence to successfully teach a university level geology course and laboratory.

•Strengthen a district’s capacity for delivering upper level science courses.

•Create sustainable relationships between K-12 and higher education.

To address Broader Impacts (as defined by NSF) the project will:

1.Broaden participation of underrepresented groups by preparing students in high schools with large minority populations to pursue science higher education

2.Enhance infrastructure for education by developing sustainable partnerships among K-12 science educators, the University of Washington (UW) and UW faculty

3.Provide professional development for high school science teachers, enabling them to teach a university-level science course

  1. 4.Strengthen K-12 science curriculum for up to 150 students per year beyond the grant period

References Cited:

[1]M. F. Summer, F. A. Hrabowski III, Science 2006, 311, 1870.

[2]E. Seymour, N. Hewitt, Talking about leaving: why undergraduates leave the sciences, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1997.

[3]D. J. Nelson, C. N. Brammer, H. Rhoads, Donna J. Nelson, 2007.

[4]NSF, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 2004.

[5]C. M. Rey, Science 2001, 293, 1611.

Some of this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0955309.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.