Science Education Model

The Natural History Science Education Learning Model

The St. Catherines Sea Turtle Conservation Program is a derivative of years of teaching and learning. Although we didn’t set out to develop a model for teaching and learning, a learning model has, in fact, evolved from our Program. Our teaching is modeled after what I consider to be the natural learning cycle, the Scientific Methods of Discovery. The scientific methods formalize the way in which we would like to, and indeed do learn, a formal sequence of five steps, followed by integration of learned knowledge into our world-view, then transference of the knowledge to others.

The Natural Learning Cycle

  1. Learning:
    • Problem Recognition & Definition
    • Gathering Relevant Information
    • Formulation of Connections
    • Test by Observation/Experiment
    • Reject/Accept/Modify Connections
  2. Integration into One’s World View (Self-Learning)
  3. Transference to Others (Teaching)

The ways in which we learn are varied and vary at different times and with different subjects. But basically we follow the model above, being taught from past experiences of others, often experiencing learning “the hard-way” on our own, and passing our knowledge on to others, as teachers.

As the Sea Turtle Program was planned, initiated, then repeatedly executed, it became apparent that we had stumbled onto a very cool sustainable process involving a series of significant learning components that make the Program especially viable; Constructive Components brought together that included the following …

Constructive Components to a Viable Natural History Program

  1. A relevant natural history problem based on a charismatic topic.
  2. A integrative approach to research, education, and conservation.
  3. Field-based, mentored, hands-on instruction and learning.
  4. Relevant applied and basic research with real processing skills.
  5. Real-world conservation service with measurable components.
  6. A model built on a strong collaborative core.
  7. Collaborative teaching at the K-12 and university levels.
  8. Collaborative funding based upon continuing productivity.
  9. Compounded teaching/learning through K-12 continuity.
  10. Capability to react to new research or problem opportunities.
  11. A program involving critical thinking and constant triage.
  12. A program constantly evaluated and adjusted to customer needs.
  13. A program that supports action into the future.

The Sea Turtle program presents a way of learning hands-on, inquiry-based science that is field-based and based upon active science through a learning cycle model that utilizes emerging electronic technologies.

The Sea Turtle Program has led to the development (Bishop and Marsh, 1999) of a technology-based science education model, The Eisenhower – St. Catherines Natural History Science Education CPU Model based on a concrete metaphor of a computerized instructional model with a Central Program Core (The Sea Turtle Program) forming the central dynamo (like a computer’s CPU) driving the Model. Once the CPC is established, Major Initiative Plug-Ins (MIPIs) are added to enhance the program core (i.e., The Portal Computerized Science Classroom/Laboratory, Web-Based Learning, Science Education Reform, and Electronic Learning). Into each of these Major initiatives are Project Plug-Ins (PPIs) (similar to pcmia cards), which may be individual courses, web sites, or research problems being addressed in the Program. The Central Program Core remains stable and continues to be productive supporting, and being supported by MIPIs and PPIs that may be rapidly exchanged as opportunities for problem solving or funding opportunities present themselves. This model is thought to be generally applicable to natural history and science and for general dissemination and testing by other science education collaborative projects involving conservation education.

The model consists of three components; 1.) The Natural Learning Cycle, 2.) The Constructive Components, and 3.) The CPU Program Model.
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) Model is a synergistic feedback system built around a stable central program (like the St. Catherines Sea Turtle Program), which has a myriad of smaller Peripheral Plug-In projects (like science education of K-12 teachers) to support and be supported by the CPU. Small problems or funding opportunities that plug into the PPIs are like PCMIA cards, small enabling units that make other parts work (like this web site).

Last updated: 6/19/2015

Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island • (912) 478-1744 •