Mapping Roads from Environmental Science To the Internet (MRESI)

Institute Inquiry Results

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The Northern Arizona Environmental Education Resource Center at NAU offered a summer training opportunity for science teachers. Funded by an Eisenhower grant, MRESI was a three week NAU-based summer institute focusing on:

    1) field-based environmental science inquiry processes,
    2) integrating Internet resources into science curriculum, and
    3) web site construction for the purpose of displaying inquiry results and expanding the educational community to connect universities and other schools.

What happened? Class settings varied from the NAEERC seminar room, to natural areas, to computer labs on a daily basis. Participants built reference portfolios and complete instructional units that apply MRESI research, discussions, and experience to a secondary classroom setting. They conducted field research and built web pages based on that research. They felt the excitement of going on-line by joining in the Arizona Roadside Environments (ARE) web-hub at MRESI and will later do the same with their own classrooms next fall.

What was MRESI's Timeline and Itinerary? The three week summer institute was held Monday through Friday, June 8-26, 1998. Classes were in session daily from 8:00-3:30 with tutored evening computer labs open twelve hours a week.

  • Week one focused on the importance of authentic inquiry in real world settings. Issues explored included inquiry goals for high school students, state and national standards, multicultural science methods, cooperative group structuring, environmental science field methods and interdisciplinary concerns. The week included 2-3 field outings as participants pursued their self-generated inquiry questions. Research processes conducted by participants included data gathering, analysis, and reporting.
  • Week two focused on Internet applications in a science classroom and was adjusted to fit the background and experience of individual participants. The week included how-to surf sessions, educational site exploration and web page contruction. Computer sessions were livened by seminar discussions about applying inquiry and technology in the classroom.
  • Week three integrated all concepts. Groups finalized their inquiry reports, uploaded their research onto group web sites, eventually to be loaded onto the ARE web-hub. Results were shared with the class. All results are now accessible back at home school sites. All participants enjoyed the final field trip watching middle school students doing inquiry at Fort Valley Experimental Forest.

Follow-up. Each school will become part of an e-mail list serve. Teacher/participants will be asked to try their instructional units developed at MRESI at their school in the following fall and report back by e-mail. The project coordinator will visit each school to assist with unit planning or presentation. School-based units will be showcased on the ARE Web-hub after an NAU review. Participant reunions will take place in the fall, first at the Arizona Association of Learning In and About the Environment (AALE) conference and then at the 1988 Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA) meeting (mandatory). At the reunions, teacher/participants will present their MRESI Instructional Units and report on their classroom progress and results to other conference attendees and each other.

Schools contribution Schools are asked to provide the release time and travel and registration costs for participants to attend the ASTA and AALE reunion meetings/presentations. Schools are also asked to provide the resources and support to establish and maintain the classroom technology necessary for participation in the ARE web-hub.

Participants'’ commitmen? Participants are committed to using their MRESI Instructional Units to join the ARE web-hub with their classroom sometime within the next school year (preferably in the fall). Participants are also committed to attend at least one of the MRESI reunions at the ASTA or AALE meetings and present their units.

Who guided the activities? The project director (Dr. Paul Rowland, Associate Professor of Education and Environmental Sciences) was responsible for overall project management, content instruction in the environmental sciences, instruction in science methodology, and leading field studies/field trips. The project coordinator (Suzan Craig, Instructor in Environmental Sciences) was in charge of the daily operations of the project, instruction in field studies and science methods, and the project evaluation. Chris Geanious provided assistance on field studies, web page development, and computer uses in science teaching. Steve Kertesz provided instruction and tutoring on web page development. Jack Thornton provided tutoring during open lab sessions.

The MRESI Institute has been completed. You can review the on-line conversations of the participants by registering with the Caucus Program and going to the 'E N V 593 Sec 3 S S 1 98 M R E S I' conference.
If you have already signed up with the Caucus program go directly to the MRESI Caucus Site