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National Research Council (US) Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Strengthening High School Chemistry Education Through Teacher Outreach Programs: A Workshop Summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009.

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Strengthening High School Chemistry Education Through Teacher Outreach Programs: A Workshop Summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable.

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CPoster Abstracts

The Penn Master of Chemistry Education Program: Data from Cohorts 1–5

Jane Butler Kahle,1 Yue Li,2 Constance Blasie3

1Ohio’s Evaluation & Assessment Center for Mathematics and Science Education, Miami University, McGuffey Hall, Oxford, OH 45056; e-mail: ude.oihoum@bjelhak

2Ohio’s Evaluation & Assessment Center for Mathematics and Science Education, Miami University, McGuffey Hall, Oxford, OH 45056; e-mail: ude.oihoum@yil

3Penn Science Teacher Institute, University of Pennsylvania, 231 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323; e-mail;

The University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Chemistry Education (MCE) project graduated five cohorts of approximately 20 teachers between 2002 and 2006. One year after teachers in the last cohort earned their degrees, the Penn Science Teacher Institute (Penn STI) initiated a follow-up study to ascertain if the goals of the MCE project had been sustained. For example, were the teachers incorporating updated content knowledge into their lessons and were their students learning more chemistry? A total of 74 of the 82 graduates participated in some aspect of this study. Because baseline data were not available for the MCE teachers and their students, baseline data from a comparable group of chemistry teachers enrolled in the first cohort of the Penn STI project and their students were used in some analyses. Among other findings, the data indicate that MCE met its goals: (1) to reach urban teachers and teachers with limited chemistry knowledge; (2) to increase the use of inquiry-based instruction; and (3) to improve student achievement in chemistry (students of MCE graduates scored significantly higher than the comparison group).

Mechanical Resonance Characteristics in a Borate Polymer Environment as a Function of Glucose Concentration—A Student-Friendly Application of Chemical Engineering in the High School Science Classroom

Ellen M. Johnson,1, 2 Loraine P. Snead,1, 2 Annette D. Shine2

1 Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington, Delaware

2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark

As a preliminary model for in vivo detection of glucose levels in diabetic patients, using remote sensing, we have developed a bench-top system for analysis of the relationship between the glucose concentration in a polymer containing borate and hydroxyl groups. We have used the audio editing program Amadeus Pro ( for analysis of properties of waveforms created by standard tuning forks suspended into a polymer-glucose solution. In addition to direct application to the chemical principles regarding the replacement of the polymer hydroxyl groups by the hydroxyl groups in glucose molecules, this general method can be extended in the interdisciplinary, inquiry-based classroom. Students can design further experiments testing multiple input variables and consider the contributions to various science disciplines and applications of related mathematical principles as seen in the data analysis. This work is an outgrowth of our association with the University of Delaware-Nature InSpired Engineering Research-Experience for Teachers (UD-NISE-RET) program in the summer of 2008 (

PPG R&D Science Education Council: ENGAGE—EMPOWER—ENRICH

Kimberly Schaaf

PPG Industries Coatings Innovation Center, 4325 Rosanna Drive, Allison Park, PA 15101; e-mail: moc.gpp@faahcsk

The mission of the PPG Science Education Council is to encourage and facilitate the participation of PPG associates in programs that educate our communities in sciences and engineering and inspire students to pursue scientific professions. We recognize that in order to fulfill the latter part of our mission we must also reach out to the educators that will be teaching those students. This poster highlights several teacher outreach programs currently in place as well as some of the other interactive and exciting activities sponsored by our group.

Summer Research Fellowships for Teachers: A Proven Model of Professional Development

Kaye Storm

Stanford University, Building 60, Room 214, Stanford, CA 94305-2063; e-mail: ude.drofnats@mrotsk

The Office of Science Outreach (OSO) at Stanford University has a long history of partnering with a San Francisco Bay area educational nonprofit to provide chemistry teachers unique professional development during the summer. Since 2005, 55 high school science teachers (including 22 teachers of chemistry) have held eight-week research fellowships within the university’s science, engineering, and medical school labs. The teachers have cumulatively reached an estimated 21,000 students, more than one-third of whom are from groups that are underrepresented in the chemical sciences. The poster presents evidence that these teacher research fellowships result in greater teacher retention, motivation, and competency and that student standardized test scores and participation in extracurricular science activities increase following the teachers’ experience.

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Chemistry Faculties Outreach Efforts

Myra J. Halpin

North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics, 1219 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705; e-mail: ude.msscn@niplah

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is a state-funded residential high school for students with high aptitudes in math and science. Part of our legislative mandate is to help improve the math and science education in the state. This poster describes the Chemistry Department’s efforts to help North Carolina students and teachers statewide by providing (1) teacher workshops via our two-way audio and video distance learning program and honors and advanced placement (AP) chemistry online to small schools that do not have sufficient enrollment to offer advanced courses; (2) leadership in chemistry curriculum development, statewide objectives, and end-of-course questions by working with NC-DPI; (3) summer residential workshops for North Carolina chemistry teachers to improve teachers’ content knowledge and provide numerous laboratory activities that are easy and inexpensive for teachers to add to their existing program; (4) summer research opportunities for students to conduct research projects, RECAP, and RSI; (5) sessions at American Chemical Society (ACS), ChemEd, NCSTA, and NSTA meetings; and (6) animations and videos for teacher use via the Web site

Pharmacology Education Partnership II: Teaching Neuroscience and Pharmacology to High School Students Improves Achievement in Biology and Chemistry*

Rochelle D. Schwartz-Bloom,1 Myra J. Halpin,2+ Jerome P. Reiter3

1Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center; e-mail: ude.ekud@100awhcs

2North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics; e-mail: halpin@ncssm. edu

3Department of Statistics & Decision Sciences, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; e-mail: ude.ekud.tats@yrrej

*Supported by a NIDA Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award

# DA 10904.

+Presenting author.

The Pharmacology Education Partnership (PEP) is a curriculum developed for high school teachers, providing them with tools to teach the principles of biology and chemistry in the context of pharmacology (e.g., drugs of abuse) and the brain. We hypothesized that high school students might learn basic concepts in biology and chemistry better if the material is presented in the context of something interesting and relevant to their own lives. The PEP project includes several components such as curriculum design (six pharmacology modules), science content, professional development, and student assessment. In our first study, 50 teachers across the United States participated in a five-day workshop and field-tested the PEP curriculum in their classrooms; 4,000 of their students were tested and showed improvement in biology and chemistry compared to the standard curriculum (Schwartz-Bloom and Halpin, 2003). In this expanded study, 237 teachers were provided six hours of professional development in pharmacology and neuroscience at an NSTA meeting or via Distance Learning (two-way audio-video broadcasts). More than 10,000 students were tested for knowledge of basic biology and chemistry principles as well as advanced knowledge about drugs. The use of the PEP modules demonstrated significant gains in high school biology and chemistry classrooms using the PEP modules compared to the standard curriculum (Kwiek et al., 2007). The PEP curriculum can be accessed online at


  1. Kwiek NC, Halpin MJ, Reiter JP, Hoeffler LA, Schwartz-Bloom RD. Science. 2007;317:1871–1872. [PubMed: 17901318]
  2. Schwartz-Bloom RD, Halpin MJ. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 2003;40:922–938.

Chemistry Institutes: Enhancing Science Teachers’ Capacity and Curricula Using Trained Student Support

Michael F. Z. Page,1 Edward D. Walton,1 Joelle Opotowsky,1 Laurie Riggs,1 Brenda L. Oldroyd2

1California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768; e-mail: ude.anomopusc@egapfm

2Diamond Ranch High School, Pomona, Calif.

High school chemistry teachers are faced with tremendous challenges in teaching science to our students. According to the National Academies America’s Lab Report, “Improving high school science teachers’ capacity to lead laboratory experiences effectively is critical to advancing scientific educational goals.” At Cal Poly Pomona, we have developed an innovative teacher-student program that couples high school science teachers with trained student teaching assistants, thereby increasing the teaching capacity of the instructor and allowing the class to perform more laboratory experiments. During our summer institutes the teachers and students work as a team to develop inquiry-based science lessons, demonstrations, and experiments. As a follow-up to measure the effectiveness of our institutes, both interviews and surveys were administered in which participants were asked to evaluate how their academic year compared to the quality of science instruction offered prior to their experience in our Science Teaching Institute at Cal Poly Pomona. During our presentation, results of the administered surveys and interviews are shared.

Professional Development for High School Chemistry Teachers Through the Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program

Bonnie L. Kaiser

The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue—Box 53, New York, NY 10065-6399; e-mail: ude.rellefekcor@einnob

Since 1992, the Rockefeller University Science Outreach Program for K-12 teachers and high school students has worked to improve science education through a program of mentored research in the university’s 70+ biomedical research laboratories, combined with training in science communication and related student enrichment and teacher professional development activities. Teachers participate for two years and develop action plans for implementing inquiry-based learning in their classrooms. Based on its successful outcomes in general science education and the increased strength of chemistry-related investigations at Rockefeller, in 2007 the program designed a three-year pilot project, Synergy Through Inquiry, to implement and test strategies for improving chemistry education through inquiry-based research and communication training. The components include mentored research in chemistry; a science communication course based on a model paper on evolution at the macromolecular level; a seminar series focusing on “Life as Chemistry and Biological Organization” and featuring chemistry faculty presenting on their research; and Students Modeling a Research Topic (RU-SMART) team collaborations on visualizing chemistry. Synergy Through Inquiry is supported by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Reaching Rural High School Chemistry Teachers in Florida: Engaging in Scientific Research with Scientists in State Parks, Wildlife Refuges, Estuarine Reserves, and Other Local Resources

Penny J. Gilmer,1 Amanda Clark, Sarah Sims, Donald Bratton, Joi Walker, Steven Blumsack, Harold Kroto

1Florida State University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, P.O. Box 3064390, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4390; e-mail: ude.usf.mehc@remlig

From an in-service program of 79 K-12 teachers, 12 are high school chemistry teachers from rural northwestern and north central Florida. The goal of the two-semester program is to provide opportunities for the teachers to work in collaborative teams with teachers from their rural districts and with scientists that work near their schools. First, in spring 2008, we offered an online graduate class, entitled Nature of Scientific Inquiry, to 118 K-12 teachers, providing discussion boards for students’ required weekly posts on relevant readings. The class broadcasts are provided online continuously using a media site at Florida State University at

For those with continued interest, we identified 45 options of research sites spread from western to north central Florida from which the teachers could choose for their graduate class “Scientific Research Experiences.” Thirty teams of teachers work together, with two to five teachers per team, for 90 hours of concentrated research experience, supervised by at least one scientist on site. The scientists typically work on environmental issues that take place in state parks, national refuges, estuarine reserves, etc. Teachers reflect in writing on the readings from the scientist and their experiences in the field. At the end of the program we have a poster day in which the teachers present their research in poster format.

We have 12 chemistry high school teachers plus 5 teacher mentors who also are chemists in the program. Their ideas for bringing their learning and experiences to their students include (1) water quality testing of bodies of water local to their schools, (2) “food-for-thought” questions that we used in our online nature-of-scientific-inquiry class, (3) the importance of units of measurement (with practical examples from their research), (4) PBS videos on the Journey to Planet Earth series (with broadcasting rights for two years) at, (5) importance of collaboration and crossover in science, and (6) filtration of methylene blue in different types of soils.

We evaluate the effectiveness of the program using the Views on the Nature of Science questionnaire, before the courses start and at the end of the program. We are particularly interested if having teams with one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school teacher work more effectively with the articulation among the different levels of K-12 schooling. We utilize cultural historical activity theory as our theoretical lens for looking at the coherences and contradictions in the flow of the teachers to their objects and outcomes. We plan to visit some of the teachers in their classrooms early in the upcoming academic year.

A grant from the State of Florida pays the graduate tuition for the teachers and a salary for the summer research. We hire teacher mentors who are K-12 teachers who have done scientific research, and they visit the teams regularly and grade the participants’ regular posts. We selected nine participants to write chapters for a monograph on their experiences in the program. We collaboratively work with the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) in Chipley, Fla. Our grant’s Webs ite is PAEC is preparing an hour-long video documentary on this program, with visits to the research sites of the nine monograph authors.

Ohio House of Science and Engineering (OHSE), a K-20 Outreach Program

Dr. Susan Olesik

Department of Chemistry, Ohio State University, 100 W. 18th Ave., Columubus, OH 43210, Email: ude.etats-oiho.yrtsimehc@kiselo

Two programs that are components of the OHSE are highlighted in this poster: Wonders of Our World, W.O.W. and the High School Science Outreach Program of Ohio State University’s Nanoscience and Engineering Center.

The Wonders of Our World, W.O.W. is a science outreach program to local K-8 schools. The goals of W.O.W. are to (1) supplement and improve the existing science programs, (2) bring the excitement of science discoveries into the classroom, (3) provide science equipment and content material for teachers, (4) increase community (parents, scientists, and OSU students) involvement in local school activities, and (5) generate a pathway that gives school teachers ready access to scientists at OSU and other local science enclaves. W.O.W. begins its tenth year of operation this fall. This program provides teacher workshops and visits from volunteer scientists throughout the academic year. It is a highly successful program having served more than 10,000 students and hundreds of teachers to date. Data illustrating its structure and the assessment metrics are provided.

Nanoscience and Technology Experiments to Expand the Capabilities of High School Chemistry, Physics and Biology Teachers, CANPBD Education Committee (S. V. Olesik, D. L. Tomasko, T. Conlisk, and P. R. Kumar): The Ohio State University’s Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices (CANPBD) has established a significant outreach program for in-service high school science teachers. The goals of this effort include (1) introducing high school teachers and students to the excitement of the new discoveries occurring in nanoscience, (2) providing laboratory-based and computer modeling experiments in nanotechnology that are aligned with content standards taught in high school science curricula, (3) illustrating the multidisciplinary nature of most scientific studies, and (4) providing select high school teachers with the opportunity to collaborate with members of the center in developing these experiments. Workshops that allow classroom teachers from across the State of Ohio to work through these experiments and learn more about the center are offered each summer. During the academic year, the members of the center’s education committee collect information from participating teachers about how these experiments function in their classrooms. Finally, starting this year an online discussion group has been established to allow facile discussion among the CANPBD scientists and engineers and the high school teachers. This program is beginning its fifth year of evolution. Examples of the experiments developed to date, evaluation metrics, and results are highlighted in this poster.

Promoting Excellence in Science Education Through ACS Outreach Programs

Terri Taylor, Marta Gmurczyk

American Chemical Society, Education Division, 1155 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036

With more than 160,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers, and related professionals around the globe.

The ACS Education Division provides programs, products, and services that promote excellence in science education and community outreach. At the secondary level, these include the High School Chemistry Clubs program, professional development workshops, and a pilot program, Summer Research Fellowships for high school chemistry teachers.

Copyright © 2009, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK26420


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