The GSUSTP@SCI educational program is one aspect of our holistic, integrated Program of “Conservation, Research, and Education” based upon the nesting of loggerhead sea turtles. In our educational efforts we practice a hybrid “POGILTM” pedagogy couched in hands-on, field-based and place-based learning, authentic scientific activities, and active learning.
Venn diagram of overlapping aspects of the major components of the GSUSTP@SCI programming practiced on St. Catherines Island.
Education Program goals support:
- Better understand nesting ecology of loggerhead sea turtles on the Georgia coast;
- Enhance production of hatchlings and determine parameters for management of sea turtle nesting on urbanized sea islands;
- Involve school teachers, pre-service education majors, and science majors in active conservation and management activities in order to teach alternative principles of scientific inquiry, scientific methodology, scientific documentation and process, to provide a suite of classroom teaching resources, teach pedagogical skills, and build a regional citizen advocacy group for conservation of sea turtles and other endangered species; and,
- Apply this data to the geological record to identify turtle nests in ancient sedimentary rocks.
Experiential learning in a field environment has proven to be a captivating educational experience as teacher-interns and pre-service education interns practice hands-on science and conservation in helping solve a real-world problem! Here our teachers inventory an emerged nest in 2008.
This program successfully links and integrates pedagogy, conservation, research, and science education in a comprehensive natural history approach to implementation of the Georgia Learning Framework. The project develops current pedagogical content for courses teachers teach, enhance their current knowledge in teaching strategies, and allow them to acquire materials to be used in teaching their courses, including a strong background in technology.
National goals have been promulgated by AAAS’s Science for All Americans and Benchmarks; by NSTA’s “Scope, Sequence, and Coordination,” The National Academy of Sciences National Research Council’s, National Science Education Standards, National Geographic Society’s National Geography Standards 1994, and the Federal Government’s “Goals 2000” and “No Child left Behind.” Added to these are numerous State reform efforts such as GIMS, “Georgia Initiative in Mathematics and Science,” which have attempted to establish standards or strategies to change how we train our science educators. Nearly twenty years later we see little progress has been made by these efforts to reform science and mathematics education.
Many projects addressing the concerns voiced by the science education reformers have been in place for many years; more will be initiated to address the common concerns of the Science Education Reform movement. These projects formed the focus of a forum presented by Sigma Xi; The Research Society as part of its National Meeting in 1994 (Atlanta). This forum explored “Partnerships in Science Education: Action at the Local Level.” This forum joined other exercise-based projects such as Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Project Wet, Jason, and many other topical projects.
The common theme of these reform movements includes one or more of the following components:
- A Societal need for Science Literacy.
- A need for Hands-On Activities.
- A need for Relevant, Real World Activities.
- A need for Inquiry-Based Exercises.
- Added to these are some local needs in rural Georgia including:
- A need for teacher content competency.
- A need for free or inexpensive Teaching Resources.
How can we attain these goals in a fluctuating economy? Perhaps on-going projects such as the GSUSTP@SCI may provide part of the answer to this enigma.
Last updated: 12/18/2014