BGSU, NWO offers new science teacher training

More than 50 years after the launch of Sputnik, science and math education is in a crisis in all American
schools. President Barack Obama believes science and math education and teacher professional development
in those areas is crucial to our nation’s success and has made that a priority in his Plan for Lifetime
Success Through Education. To rise to the challenge, Bowling Green State University, along with its
partners in the Northwest Ohio Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (NWO) are
offering an opportunity for educators to hone their science skills and offer at-risk schools science
outreach through a program called Project Pi r2 (Partners in Inquiry Resources and Research).
Support for this project was provided by a grant under the federally funded Improving Teacher Quality
State Grants Program administered by the Ohio Board of Regents. This professional development project
offers K-8 grade teachers over 100 hours of inquiry science professional development in conjunction with
nine hours of hands-on science outreach for their classrooms. Thirty teachers and more than 900 students
will benefit from this opportunity. Total cost of the project is $142,693, with $130,027 being financed
by federal funds through the Ohio Board of Regents.
Dr. Emilio Duran is the principal investigator on the project. His past work on projects such as
TAPESTRIES, Project ASTER and NWO TEAMS combines his experience in educational research with an
enthusiasm about reuniting partners for a new professional development experience.
High needs school districts – Washington Local Schools, Toledo Public Schools and Fostoria Community
Schools – have been working alongside NWO for the past 12 months to create this program, which will
directly benefit their teachers and students with sustained science teaching and learning. Scientists
from partnering universities – Lourdes College, University of Toledo, Owens Community College and
University of Findlay – will be integral to the program. They will visit schools to provide face-to-face
science instruction and expertise for teachers who each day are confronted by myriad science
misconceptions that students bring with them into the classroom.
Educators from Challenger Learning Center of Lucas County (sponsored by Lucas County Educational Service
Center), LEARNnco of North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Metroparks of the Toledo Area,
Sauder Village, Seven Eagles Historical Earth and Education Center, Toledo Botanical Garden, and the
Toledo Zoo will deliver school-day outreach programs and services. These content experts will bring
everything from butter churns to live animals into participating classrooms to provide students with
real-world, hands-on science learning experiences.
Additional NWO partners include teachers from 19 counties, college students training to be teachers,
public school administrators, educational service centers, community agencies, the Community Resources
Workshop Committee and local businesses. The Center is directed by Dr. W. Robert Midden of Bowling Green
State University.