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Survey of K–12 Science Teachers’ Educational Product Needs from Planetary Scientists
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Most education reform documents of the last two decades call for students to have authentic science inquiry experiences that mimic scientific research using real scientific data. In order for professional planetary scientists to provide the most useful data and professional development for K–12 teachers in support of scienceeducation reform, an extensive national survey of nearly 800 “alpha teachers” was undertaken to determine how teachers are currently using planetary science data and, if not, why not. Although teachers had considerable awareness of online data resources, few report frequent use of online data for authentic inquiry and analysis in the classroom. Teachers’ primary use of the Internet for data is to download images to share with students. Only one-quarter of teachers report that they ever use any online data in the form of large WWW data sets, real-time data, or virtual online data to engage students in inquiry or data analysis and virtually no teachers reported using data sets delivered on CD-ROMS. Results suggest that the most influential role for the community of planetary scientists might be to support the creation and dissemination of two standards-based products: content courses for teachers that translate research into classroom ideas, and a limited number of data-driven inquiry products that focus on key scientific ideas.
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