February 23, 2012

The School of Ed’s Center for Global Environmental Education Partners with 3M on Science Teaching

CGEE Students work in lab

Changes to the Minnesota statutes now require that all high school students take either chemistry or physics in addition to current graduation requirements. These changes mean that there are not enough chemistry and physics teachers in the state to meet demand.

“Teachers need additional education to teach these added classes,” said Lee Schmitt, a professional development coordinator and faculty member in the Hamline School of Education. “Science teachers in every district across the state are being newly assigned to teach chemistry or physics and need content review, support and time to plan.”

The university’s Center for Global Environmental Education has partnered with 3M to help teachers across the state prepare. With a $300,000 grant from 3M, Hamline created the Chem4All and Physics4All programs that will help teachers who have not taught these subjects before or are now teaching to a new demographic of students. These programs bring together experienced and newly-assigned teachers together for a week of concept-review, teaching strategy development, and curriculum planning.

“These classes will help teacher prepare,” Schmitt said. “Even experienced teachers will need to prepare for teaching a new demographic of students.”

In the past, chemistry and physics were taught primarily to “college-bound” students, but means that all students will need to the new standards and these subjects will require new approaches to teaching , which the Chem4All and Physics4All programs will can address.

This summer, Schmitt expects the program to support 120 teachers—80 in chemistry and 40 in physics. Chem4All is being organized by Hamline chemistry professor Matt Morgan and Carrie Fruin, a teacher at Eastview High School in Apple Valley. While Physics4All is being led by Hamline physics professor Andy Rundquist and Mankato East teacher Eric Koser.

One day of each weeklong session will be spent at 3M’s innovation center, where teachers will learn about engineering principles that are a new component of the science standards.

 “We are grateful that 3M was willing to put money toward improving science education in Minnesota,” said Tracy Fredin, assistant professor and Director of the Center for Global Environmental Education. “They really want to be a partner in helping to make a scientifically literate society.”

Hamline’s proactive approach to addressing the science education needs of Minnesota with these programs and others like MnSTEP and the Rivers Institute have made people take notice.

“Hamline University is recognized as a leader in science education in Minnesota,” said Lee Schmitt.

The programs include free room and board for non-metro teachers, lunch, teaching resources, continuing education credits, and regional follow-up workshops during the school year. Chem4All Summer Institutes run July 9-13 and from July 23-27, 2012. The Physics4All Summer Institute is from August 6-10, 2012.

For more information visit Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education.