Westminster College's science program mission statement commits us to an experimental
approach throughout our curriculum. The Great Salt Lake project aligns our science
education courses with this mission while directly addressing problems that
are ubiquitous at similar institutions: a lack of collaboration between science
and education faculty, a deficiency in inquiry-based science instruction for
pre-service teachers, and absence of a proper space for such methodology.
To achieve this aim, the pre-service teachers conduct research projects and
design inquiry-based lesson plans centered around a unique ecosystem, Great
Salt Lake. This curriculum is highlighted on this web site. Ownership of the
experiments and access to equipment ensure that teachers we certify, who largely
remain in the vicinity, implement the curriculum modules they design.
This curriculum change cements the relationship between the science programs and the School of Education, affecting not only the elementary and secondary education science methods courses, but also bridging the faculty of both disciplines. The long-term impact is a population of teachers who have a deep understanding of the scientific process.
The project and web page were funded in part by National Science Foundation Grant #DUE-9950624 (1999-2000).
The goals of the project are listed below, along with links to pictures of students and faculty working toward each goal.
Provide pre-service teachers with an understanding of scientific methodology
Adapt, implement, and extend existing aquatic ecosystem curricula for use by local teachers and other educators via pre-service teacher-generated modules.
Create a space on the Westminster College campus dedicated to science teaching methods classes and/or support services.
Create a resource center with check-out equipment for pre-service teachers and Westminster education graduates to use in their classrooms
Strengthen the interdisciplinary relationship between Westminster College's School of Education and the science programs.
Create one cohesive secondary methods course that addresses the needs of both
biological science and physical science pre-service teachers.