Science for Middle School Students and K-12 Teachers

To help teachers and students better understand the complexities and interdisciplinarity of modern science, our 2008 HHMI grant has established two complementary outreach programs to the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), an inner-city district that serves large numbers of students from under-represented groups. With funding from our 2004 grant we established the TU-HHMI Active Learning Institute (ALI), which targeted middle school science teachers in 4 SAISD schools. Our 2008 grant expands on the ALI by offering both a TU-HHMI Science Curriculum Writing Institute (SCWI) for SAISD science teachers in all grades and a Trinity-HHMI Science Academy for 7th grade science students in 5 selected SAISD schools. \

The SCWI will utilize the Understanding by Design (UbD) method, a curriculum development approach has teachers first address student learning objectives and assessment, then with clear learning goals develop appropriate contextual materials to realize them. Faculty in Trinity University’s Education department have successfully implements a UBD-based curriculum workshop for Trinity alumni, and we have utilized their expertise and experiences in developing the TU-HHMI SCWI. The SCWI will be offered in June of every-year from 2009-2012, and it is open to K-12 science teachers from any SAISD school. These one-week planning institutes will pair each teacher with appropriate Trinity faculty member to fully develop appropriate contextual materials. Teachers apply to the program with support from their principal for implementing curricular change upon their return to classes in the fall. Teachers receive both stipends of $800 and continuing education credits from Trinity University. More about SCWI.

The TU-HHMI Science Academy in our 2008 grant expands our outreach efforts directly to middle school students. This program brings seventh graders from Harris, Twain and Wheatley Middle Schools and Bonham and Hawthorne Academies to the Trinity University science laboratories to engage in hands-on, investigative science projects. The school year in SAISD is divided into quarters. In the first quarter, students learn grade-appropriate chemistry. The second quarter explores earth science followed in the next quarter by cell and organismal biology and finishing up in the fourth quarter with ecology and astronomy. The fourth quarter experience is an overnight at the Bamberger Ranch Preserve, a local Ranch devoted to outdoor science education. It is located in the Texas Hill Country (about 1 hour north of San Antonio). In addition to engaging seventh grade students in science (many of whom have never stepped on a college campus, we are hoping to inspire them to pursue a college education). To this end, Trinity students are pivotal in the experiences; along with Trinity faculty they work directly with the students and also serve as role models. More about the TU-HHMI Science Academy.




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