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Title: The Role of the National Laboratory in Improving Secondary Science Education

While the role of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers in our education system is obvious, their role in our economic and national security system is less so. Our nation relies upon innovation and creativity applied in a way that generates new technologies for industry, health care, and the protection of our national assets and citizens. Often, it is our science teachers who generate the excitement that leads students to pursue science careers. While academia provides these teachers with the tools to educate, the rigors of a science and technology curriculum, coupled with the requisite teaching courses, often limit teacher exposure to an authentic research environment. As the single largest funding agency for the physical sciences, the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science plays an important role in filling this void. For STEM teachers, the DOE Academies Creating Teacher Scientists program (ACTS) bridges the worlds of research and education. The ACTS program at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), one of several across the country, exemplifies the value of this program for participating teachers. Outcomes of the work at BNL as evidenced by the balance of this report, include the following: (1) Teachers have developed long-term relationships with themore » Laboratory through participation in ongoing research, and this experience has both built enthusiasm for and enriched the content knowledge of the participants. (2) Teachers have modified the way they teach and are more likely to engage students in authentic research and include more inquiry-based activities. (3) Teachers have reported their students are more interested in becoming involved in science through classes, extra-curricular clubs, and community involvement. (4) Teachers have established leadership roles within their peer groups, both in their own districts and in the broader teaching community. National laboratories are making an important contribution to the science education system by engaging teachers in authentic research activities, maintaining durable relationships with the teachers, sharing the tools and intellectual capabilities of a federal research agency, and taking the added step of engaging their students as well. These experiences, set in a scientifically rich environment, distinguish the DOE ACTS program.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
R&D Project: 03269; TRN: US200825%%577
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
Doe - Office Of Science
Country of Publication:
United States