Lunar and Planetary Institute

Pre-Service Education
and the Space Science Research and E/PO Community

Menu of Opportunities for Scientist Involvement in Teacher Preparation



Prepare teachers to bring first-hand science experience / authentic experience to prepare future STEM people.

What Is This Site About?
This Web page is intended to assist the Space Science Research, Science Faculty, and E/PO Community in identifying and selecting opportunities for investing in pre-service education projects—projects helping to prepare future teachers to teach science.


Why is Pre-Service Education Important -- Especially in the Sciences?

There is a nationally-recognized need to improve science education by improving teacher preparation. 71% of elementary teachers feel they are only somewhat, a little, or not at all science literate (Bayer study)   Most K-12 science teachers have significant misunderstandings of astronomical topics, including the scale of the Solar System and Universe and the motions of the Earth and Moon (research).   Proposed efforts include approaches that allow future teachers to experience first hand the thrill of scientific discovery and innovation. Scientists’ involvement in future teacher preparation can enrich college and university classrooms and better prepare K-12 teachers to bring science into their own classrooms.


Science and Education faculty collaboration is fundamental to long term solutions.

The science and education communities may not understand the structures of operation, challenges, and needs of each other, yet each holds critical pieces in the preparation of qualified, confident, and enthusiastic science teachers. Education and science faculty have the years of in-discipline experience and need to build shared instructional strategies.

To broaden science learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom, members of the scientific community can be recruited to participate in K–12 education as observers, guest speakers, tutors, and consultants. Scientists will need to become aware of the needs of teachers and students, but in the long run, their participation can enrich college and university classrooms and help K–12 teachers and scientists better understand each other.
   American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998, Blueprints On-Line Ch. 9 Teacher Education (New York : Oxford University Press )


A Few Thoughts Before You Jump In...

There are many opportunities for involvement and there is plenty of room for new ventures. Before initiating a teacher preparation project or program:


5. Develop a Program that Aligns with Audience Needs



1. Examine PSEWG Findings and Recommendations


2. Review Audience Needs & Challenges

Iteratively determine the content, time & resources you can offer

graphic of a cycle

4. Meet the Audience


3. Seek a Partner




National Science Standards



Opportunities for Involvement

These opportunities are arranged in order from least to most time and effort.

Advocate for and Assist Educators
 Scientists can help science and education faculty and future teachers by participating in their conferences or organizations, providing access to science equipment, and more.

Adjust and Adapt Existing Educational Resources for Use by Future Teachers
This could involve revising education resources that you have already created, or examining a set of existing resources and providing the extra information and details to make it more appropriate for use by future teachers or science and education faculty engaged in teacher preparation.

Provide Data for Use in Education
Science and education faculty need data formatted appropriated to conduct authentic inquiry. Such data should be in a format that is easy for future teachers to understand and manipulate to answer researchable questions.

Share Your Science Content
Present your science content to scientists and education faculty and future teachers to update or expand their science background, through resources, lectures, courses, and more.

Provide Professional Development
All science educators, including science and education faculty and future teachers, can benefit from quality professional development: in using existing resources, in science teaching methods, or in science content.

Promote Partnerships Between Scientists and Educators
These partnerships enable those engaged in preparing future teachers to collaborate, sharing their expertise to design optimal instructional strategies in science education.

Become a Mentor
Future science teachers benefit from mentors in the same manner that future scientists do. Consider future teachers when providing guidance for students.

Create Research Experiences
By involving science education faculty, science faculty, and future teachers in the process of science, they will have experiences that they can use to create new activities for the classroom and to share with their own students, in addition to adding to their understanding of the process of science.

The ideas and materials presented here are the result of discussions with many teachers, teacher educators, and scientists, and science education specialists.  This work was done by the members of the Pre-Service Education Working Group. Funding was provided by NASA Science Mission Directorate.