UH Sea Grant and CRDG Join Forces to Deliver Marine Education

CRDG has partnered with the UH Sea Grant College Program to establish a Center of Excellence for Marine Science Education, the newest of four centers of excellence established by the UH Sea Grant College Program. As director of the new center, CRDG’s Kanesa Duncan became an affiliate faculty member with Sea Grant College Program in the fall of 2008.

Under Duncan’s direction, the new Center of Excellence is dedicated to connecting researchers, educators, and community members in marine science education. The center currently has three main thrusts: providing teacher institutes on Teaching Science as Inquiry (TSI) in a marine science context, providing graduate students in the Sea Grant program with training in education, and teaching a course in communicating ocean sciences for preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and informal educators.

The center funded TSI teacher institutes in aquatic science on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i in 2008. Three new modules—physical oceanography, biological oceanography, and ecology—are in development. When completed, these four TSI courses will form a cohesive marine science educator course.

The training for graduate students is tied into a Sea Grant service requirement of forty education outreach hours per year. Sea Grant research assistants participate in the CRDG-facilitated training and develop outreach programs that help share cutting-edge marine science with K–12 students, teachers, and the community.

The third element in the center’s work, teaching formal and informal educators about communicating ocean sciences (COS), is part of an NSF-funded grant to partner with the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) in California. COSEE CA developed the COS college course, and UH partners are adapting it to Hawai‘i, incorporating elements of traditional knowledge and the local environment. The University of Hawai‘i’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, and Maui Community College are all partners in this grant.

CRDG has been part of the NSF-funded Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K–12 Education (GK–12) program for the past ten years and has assisted in the development of several unique and innovative projects based on classroom adaptations of GK–12 fellows’ research. The latest of these is a kit for studying corals available free to teachers that was developed at the UHM Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education (C-MORE). The curriculum was tested with marine science students at ULS in the spring of 2008.