Teachers wanted

Fulcrum Institute aims to improve science education

Tufts is now recruiting teachers in kindergarten through grade 8 for the Fulcrum Institute for Leadership in Science Education, a National Science Foundation initiative to encourage quality science teaching.

The Fulcrum Institute, a series of three graduate-level courses at Tufts, helps develop K-8 teachers as leaders of science in their schools. Participating teachers will also be part-time graduate students at the university. Tufts is sponsoring the institute in collaboration with TERC, a nonprofit education research organization dedicated to improving mathematics, science and technology teaching and learning, and the Malden Public Schools.

The next institute begins on January 20, 2007, and runs through December 2008. Applications are due in October. For more information, call 617-627-3039 or go to http://fulcrum.tufts.edu.

Tufts offers the courses tuition-free to teachers accepted to the program and who agree to share their classroom practice with researchers and colleagues. The Fulcrum Institute also provides all books and required materials. The cost for participants is the registration fee ($65 for each course). Participants are eligible to receive a stipend for their feedback, for participation in the project’s research component and for successful completion of the courses.

“We are looking for school-based teams of three to five K-8 teachers,” said Judah Schwartz, a professor of physics and education at Tufts and principal investigator for the Fulcrum Institute. “Our program is for teachers who are new to science and want to increase their confidence and skill in teaching it as well as those who have extensive science backgrounds. We welcome the opportunity to work with interested communities to improve science learning and teaching in schools.”

Courses are offered in a mixed online/face-to-face format and include meetings with scientists, science educators and researchers. The institute’s curriculum includes observing and making sense of scientific phenomena; learning how scientists and students grasp the same phenomena; sharing and gaining insights with institute participants; and learning how to plan and support inquiry-based learning experiences in classroom settings.

School-based teams from Malden, Boston, Somerville, Natick and Acton currently are participating in the program.