NEET Kick-Off Workshop Engages AP Environmental Science Teachers from High-Needs Districts

Achievement date: 
2016
Outcome/accomplishment: 

In Spring 2016, the K-12 educational team for the NSF-funded Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Systems (NEWT), hosted 15 environmental science teachers for a two-day Nano-Environmental Engineering for Teachers (NEET) Kick-off Workshop at Rice University. The workshop identified educational needs and NEWT nanotechnology topics to incorporate into the semester-long NEET program.

Impact/benefits: 

Fifteen Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science teachers in high-needs districts were selected for the NEET Kick-off Workshop. Participants rated their current knowledge of NEWT topics as low or very low, validating the need for growth. The NEWT K-12 educational team will form a NEET Steering Committee with select Kick-off participants; each fall, this Committee will determine necessary curriculum changes for the spring semester NEET course.

Explanation/Background: 

Teachers from the Houston area were selected for the workshop, with preference given for the number of years teaching AP Environmental Science in high-needs districts. Throughout the Kickoff, teachers were encouraged to provide feedback on their needs within the classroom and the ways in which NEWT activities could be leveraged to enhance their curriculum.

Activities included presentations of NEWT research by graduate students Hassan Javed and Amit Jain, discussions of Project-Based Learning (PBL) in the NEWT undergraduate education course CEVE 314-Water Purification by Dr. Jorge Loyo, and a hands-on AP Environmental Science signature lesson presented by former Rice NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) site participant, Greg Adragna. On the second day of the workshop, NEET participants took a boat tour and performed water testing both on Buffalo Bayou and at nearby Brays Bayou.