Lunar and Planetary Institute

Conferences of Interest
LPI Education and Public Outreach
Pre-Service Education Working Group


NASA SMD Reporting
Event Form

Conference Name: ASTE (Association of Science Teacher Educators)
Location:  Portland, OR
Date: Jan 12-14, 2006
Approximate attendance: 300–400 science education faculty; majority appeared to be from Education departments, but some were from science departments and a few were non-faculty (district) science education specialists.

SCORE staff attending: Christine Shupla

Conference Outcome/Things to Note and Follow-Up
(e.g., special needs noted at this conference, particular people SCORE should contact and why, questions to address from participants, etc.)


  • Increase our understanding of:
    • How science is integrated into the pre-service curriculum
    • Needs of pre-service faculty with respect to bringing science content and pedagogy into their classrooms
    • Who is the audience? What are the demographics of the colleges (and their preservice students) and of the schools that the students will be teaching in? Do the needs or the means of delivery differ?
  • Identify paths for appropriate partnerships to meet these needs
  • Discussion leads to identification of possible methods for NASA to deliver science resources, content, etc:
    • Is there sufficient interest among pre-service institutions?
    • Partnerships between pre-service institutions and scientists?
    • Resources (activities, demonstrations, etc.)?
    • Workshop for science teacher educators? possibly in conjunction with ATE and ASTE conferences??
    • Discussion identifies Educators who are willing to play a role in delivering space science to pre-service institutions.
  • Contacts to participate in our working group
  • Contacts who want to participate in bringing solutions to community (hosting/presenting workshops, etc.)
  • List of organizations who want to receive deliverables from us

To achieve these goals:
Held discussions with many conference attendees throughout the conference, and a two-hour “workshop” survey and group discussion session on Saturday morning (7:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.) We catered some breakfast items and advertised the workshop with fliers and promises of posters and cd’s, but given the hour and the poor location of the workshop, we still only had 9 participants.

Survey and discussion results:
Survey did not have enough results to be a good overview of the community. One of the ASTE board members suggested we create a web-survey that they will ask ASTE members to fill out for us; we will do that after re-tooling the survey

Of the verbal and written surveys:

  • Institutions we surveyed were predominantly public 4-year institutions
  • Mix of demographics of both pre-service students and the K–12 schools those students will serve
  • Most institutions offer certification through educational bachelor’s programs, other bachelor programs, post-bacc. and master’s.  In one discussion, I heard that there is pressure to increase the number of Master’s candidates (for financial reasons) but that the tuition increases are actually reducing the number of pre-service masters students.
  • Principal disciplines of teaching ranged from physics to science methods, to general science — wide variety
  • Most of participants were in the department of education, but some were in science departments
  • Most participants did not disclose their majors from their own education
  • Of the limited written surveys, science content for both Elementary and Secondary pre-service is taught either by science faculty or by collaboration between departments; some of these courses are designed for education majors, and sometimes they do include astronomy or planetary science content. (Not enough verbal info collected on who teaches science content for survey results to be useful)

Materials and resources: (for both students and teacher educators)

  • need to be grade-appropriate, tied to standards. Small pieces, like bits of content and activities, aren’t as helpful as an assembled curriculum that builds. Can’t achieve significant progress in a classroom with a one-day activity — needs to be more in-depth.  Liked Reasons for Seasons (GEMS). and Globe
  • Need tools (expressed interest in spectrometer) but those tools need to be accompanied by activities and guides
  • Need easier way to find resources, with detailed descriptions of what they are, what they do, and grade-level appropriateness.
  • Need lists of misconceptions for student teachers, questions they can ask to draw out misconceptions, and ways to deal with misconceptions. Something encompassing that teacher educators can use to help students learn how to ask in-depth questions of their students would be particularly helpful.

Pre-service Student needs:

  • resources,
  • affordable professional development (they are usually very limited in funding and not receiving any from institutions)

Teacher Educator needs:

  • resources
  • “Materials and how to integrate the materials beyond show and tell”
  • professional development, particularly on recent news/updates in space science. Some teacher educators felt they already had strong space science content knowledge, others felt they could learn much more, and still others felt that they needed updating, as their courses were many years ago. (All felt that they had good science foundations themselves, but were aware that students are not receiving adequate content.) Needs to include in-depth investigation of particular subjects, geared for specific grade levels, with good activities that they do during the workshops. 
  • Nature of courses: particularly interested in face-to-face experiences expressed during workshop — especially weeklong experiences, which would allow more in-depth content. Shorter, one-day courses in conjunction with conferences would be good, but preference for longer. Their institutions would allow the time off (particularly if done when courses not in session) but would not be able to provide much support financially — they would need it to be affordable or underwritten.
  • Earlier in the conference, others had expressed interest in receiving presentations via video conferencing (particularly the Moon Project, but also others)… those at the workshop on Saturday (particularly participants from San Marcos) felt that videoconferencing was expensive and not easy — they would have to travel to get to a location to participate.
  • We discussed holding shorter workshops in conjunction with the regional ASTE conferences; there was some interest in that. We also discussed doing something with ASTE itself.


  • Made no distinction between challenges for teaching elementary vs secondary. Primary challenge indicated was students’ lack of knowledge, students’ backgrounds, students’ issues, students’ own misconceptions. Time and resources are issues for some teacher educators, but not all. Technology wasn’t an issue for any of them, and they feel that their students are very comfortable with it

Key contacts:
Walter Smith
Ball State University, Dept. of Biology
Re: Moon Project, contacts w/ASTE

Kate Baird
Indiana University, Purdue University, Columbus, Dept of Ed
Re: Moon Project

Richard Shope III
JPL, Science Research and Analysis Office
Re: interested in joining committee, contacts w/ASTE

Janice Meyer
University of Houston, Clear Lake, Dept of Ed
Re: local pre-service

Terry Lashley
TN Tech University, Dept. of Ed
Re: interested in joining committee

Violetta Lien
Texas State University-San Marcos, Dept of Ed
Re: interested in joining committee, local pre-service

Julie Westerlund
Texas State University-San Marcos, Dept of Ed
Re: local pre-service

Additional information:

  • Several conference attendees are involved in the “Moon Project” which uses an investigative approach with a Moon theme to structure science education classes. LPI may partner with them to provide some content.
  • Several states are having difficulty meeting their earth and space science standards, more than any other science standard.

Who completed this form: Christine Shupla

Date: January 17, 2006

Did SCORE host a booth? No — very few exhibitors, no point

Workshop 1
Name of workshop: Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers: What is the Role of Earth and Space Scientists?
Date: Jan. 14, 2006
Time/duration: 7:40 a.m.–9:40 a.m.

Co-hosts (e.g., scientists/ed specialists) and institutions:
            Dr. Stephanie Shipp, SCORE
            Laurie Ruberg, MARSSB
            Denise Smith, Origins
            Assistance by Greg Schultz, Sun-Earth Forum

Content and forum topics covered:

  • Misconceptions
  • Survey — Preservice Working Group

Types of materials provided:

  • Dynamic Sun cd’s
  • Milky Way electromagnetic spectrum poster
  • Document: PSEWG Who We Are
  • SCORE brochures

Interaction type (demos/activities/discussion/lectures):
          Group discussion

Number of participants: 9
community college and college faculty- 6
education specialists-3

Last updated
June 14, 2007