learning modules

Teacher Workshop Held in Eureka, MO

Thursday, October 1, 2015

     Dr. Troy Sadler, Professor in the MU College of Education and Director of the ReSTEM Institute, and a science education graduate student led several EPSCoR-sponsored teacher professional development workshops this summer.  In Eureka, MO, Sadler held a workshop for the Rockwood School District.  In attendance were about 55 teachers and several school administrators.  The teachers included members of the curriculum writing teams for Rockwood School District.  All of the life science teachers at Eureka High School also attended this workshop.

     The focus of the workshop was to implement issue-based teaching in secondary science classrooms as a means of supporting Next Generation Science Standards-aligned learning.  As part of the workshop program, teachers worked with the ecology learning module that was produced as a part of the Missouri Transect.  Sadler used the learning module to exemplify of how core disciplinary ideas (such as ecological interactions and interdependence) can be taught with scientific practices (such as modeling) in the context of compelling socio-scientific issues (such as climate change).

Plant and Education Teams: Learning Modules with High School Students in Native Prairies and Woodlands

As a part of the Missouri Transect project, MU biologist Ricardo Holdo is studying how drought impacts tallgrass prairie community dynamics. He has partnered with Troy Sadler and Patricia Friedrichsen, MU science education researchers, to integrate aspects of his studies at Tucker Prairie into teaching and learning materials appropriate for high school students. Sadler and Friedrichsen are working with biology teachers and students from Rock Bridge High School to develop and pilot these materials.  The learning module features climate change as a central issue for the students to explore as they develop an understanding of ecosystem dynamics and ecological relationships.


175 high school students along with their honors biology teachers and a team of 18 scientists and science educators—including faculty and graduate students—from the University of Missouri explored Tucker Prairie, one of the last remaining tall grass prairie ecosystems in Missouri.  The students engaged in five activities designed to explore different dimensions of the prairie ecosystem. In the field, students 1) explored the role of fire in maintaining prairie ecosystems, 2) documented encroachment of woody plants into the tall grass community, 3) compared the current landscape with historic records, 4) surveyed insect diversity, and 5) examined soil profiles.

Similar student learning projects will be implemented around the state by Missouri Transect researchers and educators.

Tags: ecology, learning modules, high school education, outreach, Tucker Prairie, Rico Holdo, Troy Sadler, Terry Woodford-Thomas