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Outdoor Labs in Pre-service Science Curriculum

This section includes resources for those who provide professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers. It is written from the perspective of a university professor (and former classroom science teacher).

The article, “Planning a place-based inquiry experience for teachers,” examines the development of the Rockin’ in the Riprap program designed for pre-service and in-service teachers; it offers detailed recommendations for those interested in developing similar experiences. It includes a rationale, a description of inquiry in the experience, the planning by the team, and logistics. The grid on Essential Features of Classroom Inquiry and Their Variations, from Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 2000) is also included.

The materials for Rockin’ in the Riprap also are provided. The long and short versions of the instructor’s lesson plan, with context, background science, standards, assessment outcomes, lesson sequence on what is done by whom and when, and materials list can be used to understand further the references in the article, as a template, and/or as an example for teachers.

The slide (ppt) presentation used in the introduction (the pre-lab or pre-field portion of the lesson) is included as well as the data and information sheets used during the laboratory/field part of the lesson. The questions for the post laboratory/field discussion appear on a single page; we used it as an overhead transparency. The teaching tools noted in the plan, Magic Windows, I Have Tectonics, and Cookie Tectonics, are provided in the Teaching Techniques and Tools section, and a Geology Resources section provides the rock characteristic and rock information sheets used in the lab and field as well as more detailed information on the geology.

If you are interested in providing the teachers with whom you work a field/place-based experience, you will find a wealth of guidelines here to get you started. And if you have a set of the rocks, you could modify the Rockin’ in the Riprap materials for an “in-class” experience!

Did You Know?

Blueschist rock

Blueschist is a form of high pressure and low temperature metamorphic rock that only forms around subduction zones.