DOE Opens Labs to Teachers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have joined forces with NSTA to make the DOE's national science facilities available for training K-12 science and math teachers.

The initiative will capitalize on DOE's state-of-the-art scientific and technological resources and make them available to thousands of students and educators across the country. Via the internet, teachers and students will be able to access technology and information from DOE laboratories that will enable them to perform experiments and to use newly developed tutuorials on science and math.

The program will also provide a valuable new link between the nation's scientists and science teachers. By the year 2000, 1,000 scientists, engineers, and technicians from DOE's science laboratories and facilities around the country will be recruited to serve as online volunteers. They will assist science teachers by providing guidance on basic science, technology, energy use, energy efficiency, environmental studies, engineering, computer science, and math issues.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Pena noted, "Especially in the areas of computer technology, our labs, in partnership with NSF, will help make science 'comealive' and develop teachers' skills in integrating the tools of computer simulation and modeling with science and math standards."

"It is exciting to see scientists intimately involved in science education and have the opportunity to support science teaching and learning in the classroom," said NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler. "NSTA will work closely with the Department of Energy to make the secretary's goal a reality, as well as to make the program a worthwhile resource for our nation's science teachers and their students."

Until now, providing a scientific/technical infrastructure for teacher training has primarily involved partners in higher education. "Such teacher development all too often has taken place almost exclusively in traditional university classroom lecture settings," said Luther S. Williams, head of NSF's education directorate.

Participating labs will include Ames National Laboratory, IA; Argonne National Laboratories, IL; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA; Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, IL; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NM; National Renewable Energy Lab, CO; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA; Sandia National Laboratory, NM; Sandia National Laboratory, CA; Savannah River Site, SC; Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, VA; Prineton Plasma Physics Laboratory, NJ; and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

Teachers from schools involved in NSF's rural, statewide, urban, and comprehensive systemic reform initiatives will be eligible to participate. NSF will help identify school systems that could most benefit by this program. Geography will play a role in the decisionmaking, and underserved areas will be considered.