Questions & Answers about STEP

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat is STEP?Image: STEP Summer Institute participants in a boat for a field experience in 2007.

The Science Teacher Education Program (STEP) was a program funded through a grant from the State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. Since the summer of 2006, K-12 teachers from across Alaska participated in Summer Institutes in Fairbanks taught by faculty from the Geophysical Institute and University of Alaska Fairbanks in conjunction with the Alaska Science Consortium. The grant covered airfare, lodging, per diem, tuition, and most program materials for the teachers.

Image: flower for bulleted listWho has participated in the STEP program?

STEP participants included Alaska teachers working on obtaining highly qualified status. While teachers throughout Alaska have been welcome to apply, a selection process with priority given to those lacking highly qualified status was initiated.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhen and where have the courses been held?

STEP Summer Institutes were held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center, with field trips to various subject-related locales, such as the Permafrost Tunnel, Poker Flat Research Station and Denali National Park. Additional Follow-Up Course activities included audio conferences, science mentorship/classroom visits and teacher practicum that were held during the school year.

Image: flower for bulleted listHow many credits did participants receive?

Teachers obtained up to 9 Professional Education or Science Development credits over the course of one year of STEP participation. Since the focus of instruction changed each year, teachers who participated in all three years could earned up to 27 credits.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat were the research topics for STEP instruction?

The 2006 topic was Space Physics; in 2007, the topic was Climate Change; in 2008, the topic was Earth Science; and in.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat were the dates for the Summer Institute?

Session I of the 2008 Summer Institute took place from July 7- July 18, followed by Session II from July 21- August 1.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat process was used in creating lessons?

Lessons were developed by Summer Institute participants, based on the concepts taught by Geophysical Institute and UAF scientists, using the Alaska Science Consortium Learning Cycle Model taught by ASC master teachers. After lessons were written, they were submitted to scientists for review, then laid out by STEP staff members and reviewed by a final editor and scientist. Lessons were field-tested in K-12 classrooms after the Summer Institute in a Follow-Up Course. Feedback forms from teachers who field-tested the lessons during the Follow-Up Course were incorporated in the final lesson before it was published on the STEP website.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat is the STEP Lesson Bank?

The STEP Lesson Bank is the download portal for science and math lessons developed at the STEP Summer Institutes and through other educational programs. New lessons are added as they become available. The Lesson Bank is searchable by Alaska GLE (Grade Level Expectation), grade level, subject and keywords.

Image: flower for bulleted listWhat educational standards do STEP lessons meet? Have these lessons been field-tested?

STEP lessons help to meet National Science, Math, and Language Arts Standards, and Alaska Content Standards. A list of Grade Level Expectations is included with each lesson. Lessons were field-tested within the follow-up course held in the fall.

Image: flower for bulleted listHow do I find out more about the programs and the lessons?

For more information, contact Doreen Hayward at the UAF Geophysical Institute Public Information and Education Outreach Office, phone (907) 474-1910.

Image: flower for bulleted listQuestions? Contact us.

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