Enhancing Geoscience Education within a Minority-Serving Preservice Teacher Population
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The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics and Huston-Tillotson University collaborated on a proof of concept project to offer a geoscience course to undergraduate students and preservice teachers in order to expand the scope of geoscience education within the local minority student and teacher population. Students were exposed to rigorous Earth science materials, geoscientists conducting cutting-edge research, headliner topics, and pedagogical approaches to teaching. An evaluation of the data reveal that the course received mixed, but overall positive reviews and that student performance was mixed. Pre- and posttest results indicate that students made only modest gains. Half of the students performed at levels that matched our expectations and will be able to apply the geoscience knowledge and skills that they learned in an elementary school setting. The course contributed to the preparation of minority teachers to teach Earth science in Texas, filling a critical need. The authors, in collaboration with a minority-serving institution and as part of the preparation for a preservice teacher program, benefited from the experience; they subsequently applied the lessons learned to a program of professional development for minority-serving science teachers, the TeXas Earth and Space Science (TXESS) Revolution.