Teacher in the Sea Program

The following document describes a teacher education program submitted as a grant proposal by the University of Sioux Falls. Implementation of the program depends on the awarding of monies from the granting agency.

On August 28, 1995, a historic conversation between science researchers connected the space frontier with the ocean depths. Astronaut Mike Gernhardt, aboard the space shuttle Endeavor (STS-69), speaking with aquanaut and former astronaut Scott Carpenter discussed the similarities between living in space and underwater. Their conversation included science concepts and the natural transfer of technologies between these extreme environments. Nearly thirty years earlier a similar conversation occurred between Gordon Cooper, orbiting the Earth, and Scott Carpenter, at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in the US Navy's SeaLab II underwater habitat. The difference...three decades of scientific and technological discovery !

For many South Dakotans the world's oceans are as mysterious and distant an environment as outer space. The Teacher in the Sea Program (TISP) will select 15 middle/secondary school educators (grades 6-12) for a unique opportunity to acquire and use the skills and knowledge necessary tolive and work in one of the most accessible extreme environments--the ocean.

Participants will first undertake SCUBA training required for certification as a scientific diver. During the Summer of 1996, a two week intensive program will be conducted during which participants will receive instruction in working, living and studying in the sea. Classes within the program will consist of both shore and sea components. The shore component will take place at the University of Sioux Falls both before and after the sea component. While on-campus, participants will attend daily lectures, participate in discussions, and lead/organize laboratory experiments. Participants and faculty will then fly to Key Largo, Florida for the sea component that will be conducted at the Marine Resources Development Foundation's Underwater Habitat (MarineLab) Facility. While in Florida, participants will organize and implement underwater research projects, interpret and present data, and author project reports.

The TISP and HE2RP programs share similar educational goals and instructional approaches regarding non-contrived learning experiences. In particular, the program has targeted middle/secondary school educators whose goals/missions complement the use of grade-specific experiential learning programs for the instruction of science concepts and investigative methods. Participants will be asked to design and implement their programs in consultation with course faculty and peer participants. It is the intent of the program to bond the participants as a group that will continue to function and be inter-supportive long after the summer has passed. Consultation will be maintained via Internet communication (WWW Home Page and List Server Use Group for the TISP). There will also be a one day conference on the USF campus in the Spring 1997 that will focus on sharing classroom instructional projects resulting from participation in the TISP and the sharing of other educator training information/resources.