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Teacher professional development program earns grant support

The Water Education Leaders for Secondary Science project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently earned a second grant to foster science literacy about water resources issues among science teachers in Nebraska.

The 15-month continuing education program, led by Cory Forbes, associate professor of science education with the School of Natural Resources at UNL, will focus on supporting teaching and learning about water that links food, water, climate, energy and environmental challenges related to questions of water quality and quantity.

The program will serve 30 Nebraska middle- and high-school teachers from across the state. Teachers will participate in water literacy workshops; water science research projects conducted by water scientists in Nebraska; and online coursework through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Masters' of Applied Science, Science for Educators degree program.

The course is worth the equivalent of 125 hours of learning support, and participating teachers will receive the WELS2 certification.

Teachers can register for the course here.

The kickoff workshop, scheduled for June in Lincoln, will focus on state and national science standards related to water, including the Next Generation Science Standards. The workshop also will feature the Groundwater Foundation's Hydrogeology Challenge, a computer tool that introduces students to basic groundwater modeling techniques. The goal is for teachers to develop stronger knowledge of water and water resources that can be translated into their curriculum to positively impact students' understanding of water science and related issues. The project will also contribute to statewide efforts, led by the Nebraska Department of Education, to review and revise standards for science teaching and learning in Nebraska.

Grants to fund the course were awarded by Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the United States Department of Agriculture.

The project is a partnership among the School of Natural Resources, the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Science Literacy Initiative, the Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy & Water Education, and water scientists, all at UNL; the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska; the Groundwater Foundation; and Nebraska school districts, including Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings and Millard.