A New Graduate Space Science Course for Urban Elementary and Middle School Teachers at DePaul University in Chicago
This paper focuses on a new graduate space science course for urban elementary and middle school teachers. The course combines science content with pedagogy and classroom applications and is co-taught by a university science faculty member and a K-12 science teacher. We found that teachers who try to bring space science to their classrooms face a number of challenges. These include lack of content knowledge, low expectation of the students’ behavior and cognitive abilities, lack of administrative support, regimentation and structure of teaching set up by the schools, and lack of time during the school day to learn from each other and share questions about science and teaching. We found that because we addressed these challenges as part of the course, many teachers were able to overcome them.