The Center for Global Environmental Education
(CGEE) in the School of Education was awarded a second grant of $457,000 from the Minnesota Department of Education's Math and Science Partnership Program to continue its innovative work in science teacher training. This brings the total grant amount for this two-phase project to $907,000.
The Science and Engineering Practices in Action
(SEPA) project is a partnership between Hamline, the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota’s largest district, and the Minnesota Science Teachers Association
(MnSTA). Led by retired Hamline Professor Lee Schmitt and CGEE Director Tracy Fredin, the first phase involved a one-year grant of $450,000 to design, develop, and deliver online professional training in the most innovative practices of inquiry-based teaching.
“Teachers carry the responsibility for educating our state’s most valuable assets. We are proud that this grant further recognizes the Hamline School of Education and CGEE as statewide leaders when it comes to teacher training,” CGEE Director Tracy Fredin said. “The goal of the second phase of the project is to expand what we’ve developed with the Anoka-Hennepin District and make it easily available to teachers across the state, and possibly beyond.”
Professor Lee Schmidt is seen as a leader in teaching teachers how to implement inquiry-based techniques in their classrooms. Using the inquiry-based approach, as opposed to a traditional strategies, teachers can better drive student learning because students develop their own questions and then are tasked with finding their own answers. To illustrate how to use these strategies in the classroom, CGEE filmed teachers in the Anoka-Hennepin District throughout the process of developing and implementing the inquiry methods with their students. The videos will now be used to create an interactive online module for use by science learning communities in schools that will be accessible to science teachers throughout the state. Teachers will be guided through the training by watching the videos and discussing the successes and challenges of various approaches. The State of Minnesota will make the training available at no cost and teachers will be encouraged to go through the training with colleagues in their school or district.
“This is very exciting work and I look forward to this next phase of the project,” Fredin said. “I believe strong science literacy allows us to be better citizens in so many ways and creates a safer environment and stronger economy.”