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The TRT program is a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to spend the summer acquiring new skills in experiential learning through a program provided by a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the University of Colorado (CU) Denver. The participants spend between four and six weeks in a NPS unit developing a major educational project and participating in an online graduate course from CU Denver. The goal of the program is to provide teachers with an opportunity to engage with park resources, develop at least one lesson to be used in their classrooms, assist the park in developing curriculum-based lessons and activities, and increase their understanding of place-based learning. The NPS aims to especially reach students from underserved schools and districts by recruiting teachers from Title 1, urban or rural schools, and from tribal schools to participate in the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program.
This year’s TRT will be assisting in the development of lesson plans and program materials necessary to facilitate the National Lakeshore’s participation in the Dragonfly Mercury Project (DMP); a nation-wide program where citizen scientists use dragonfly larvae to help examine indicators of mercury contamination in the environment. Learn more about the program at https://www.nature.nps.gov/air/Studies/air_toxics/dragonfly/index.cfm.
The TRT will create pre-visit and on-site lessons and program materials. They will also create a post-visit, project-based activity for teachers and students to complete in their classrooms that will enable them to share what they have learned about citizens, the national parks, or the DMP. The National Lakeshore is in need of hands-on lessons and activities that are tied to Next Generation Science Standards for middle and especially high school students. They are seeking a TRT that has experience working with these grade levels teaching science to help them develop a program that will allow students to do citizen science in their community and participate in a national study. The TRT may also help develop a distance learning program, work with a variety of park experts, and gain experience helping with other park programs or special events.