The Water for Elementary Teachers of Science in Nebraska (Nebraska WETS) project involves a sustained professional development program designed to support elementary teachers to implement instruction that supports K-5 students’ learning about water systems. The professional development program is intended to accomplish three explicit objectives: to a) improve elementary teachers’ knowledge of water systems; b) support teachers’ use of standards, assessment, and other instructional tools to plan for and implement science instruction based in water systems; and c) positively impact student achievement (i.e., students’ learning about water systems). The project is part of the newly-launched Science Literacy Initiative through UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), which will foster science literacy in the state of Nebraska through a focus on food, fuel, and water systems, and the Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education. The project involves a partnership between UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR), College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS), and the Hastings Public Schools (HPS; Nebraska ‘high-needs’ LEA). A wide assortment of data will be analyzed to evaluate the impact of the professional development program on teacher and student outcomes aligned with project objectives as part of a rigorous evaluation. The project is research-based, supports preexisting goals of improving science teaching and learning in Nebraska, and is aligned with both state and national science education reform efforts.
Stay up to date with current news associated with the NE WETS project here.
Tonya Bernadt– Education and Outreach Specialist, National Drought Mitigation Center, School of Natural Resources, UNL, Co-Investigator
Tina Vo – Tina Vo is currently a science education Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has her B.S. in elementary education from Illinois State University and a M.S. from the University of Iowa in Science Education with research a focus on technology. She was a middle school teacher for 4 years in Illinois and Iowa, teaching in both public and private schools. Since returning to grad school she has been a graduate assistant in the Education Technology Center while also assisting Information Technology Services in research and as a graduate research assistant on the MoHSES project, focusing on teacher’s engagement with scientific modeling. Tina’s current research interests include increasing science literacy through technology within elementary and middle school classrooms at the teacher level, geological processes, and educative curriculum materials.
Forbes, C.T., Vo, T., & Bernadt, T. (2015, Sept). Supporting students’ learning about water: Model-based scientific inquiry. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science (NATS), Fremont, NE.