From the Engaging Classrooms Workshop to Lasting Interdepartmental Relationships: How Receiving the Odyssey Grant Opened the Door for Future Collaboration

Kinskey, Melanie E
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The 5-day Engaging Classrooms workshop not only provided me with a new set of tools for teaching my course, but also fostered a wonderful collaborative relationship with a faculty member outside of my department.

While observing the facilitator, Ava Fujimoto-Strait, model an engaging lesson from her course, I immediately made connections between her work in the department of Environmental and Geosciences and the real-world, interdisciplinary science I incorporated into my elementary science methods course in the School of Teaching and Learning.

Hearing details about Ava’s Hawaii Field Course began to help me think about the utilization of place-based learning as an approach to helping my students feel confident with their abilities to teach science. When Ava and I found time to meet, we discussed the parallels between our courses and she suggested I join her field course and find ways to leverage what I learn to improve the connections my teacher candidates make between science and the real-world.

To help make this opportunity possible, I applied for, and was awarded, the Odyssey Grant, which allowed me to join her field course and attend her Hawaii-based field component of the course. While there I took note of the student-centered interactions as well as the socioscientific issues the students were engaged with. From this experience I have been able to immediately develop an environmental learning module for my methods course inspired by this trip, but the most important outcome of this experience is yet to come.

During the summer of 2022, Ava and I will strengthen our collaboration by writing a proposal for a grant that will allow my preservice teachers to join her geoscience undergraduate students in the Hawaii field course. The overarching goal will be to provide positive, first-hand real-world science experiences that will transform my students’ affect toward, and future instruction in, science teaching.