AbstractBoth service learning and simulations have been shown to positively impact student outcomes, but they are not often used together. This article examines how to effectively combine these active learning styles to reap the benefits of both. After examining a case in which the two were combined and the impact this approach had on student evaluations and learning outcomes, I discuss how such projects can be successfully executed in a variety of other classes.
Many schools require community service, yet students work at a food bank or stream clean-up without understanding causes or solutions for the issues they encounter. Since students learn best when they make connections between scientific concepts and real-world issues that interest them, integrated science service learning is an effective and engaging way to teach. My fifth grade students at National Presbyterian School in Washington, DC learned about climate change through a service learning project to help the environment on campus. My class of 28 fifth-graders investigated environmental variables affecting our campus. They brainstormed ways they could help the environment and decided to focus on reducing idling in the school carpool lane. Students researched the relationship between automobile exhaust and climate change, acid rain, and health. Students crafted a tally sheet to record the number of cars and their idling times. Over an average week with pleasant weather, 35 of 165 cars (22%) which arrived early for carpool idled for a total of 509 minutes. This put out 75 kg of the greenhouse gas, CO ₂, and cost $34.00 in fuel. Students used this research to develop an anti-idling campaign, which they presented to the whole student body and posted on the school website and e-newsletter. Students showed improvement on climate science knowledge and realized typical or better marks on benchmark assessments. They also became more confident in their knowledge, moving from an average 3 before the project to an average 8.5 afterwards on a 10-point Likert scale. Students also demonstrated a change in their view of science. Before the project they drew chemists with bubbling test tubes but after the project they drew themselves as a variety of different scientists helping to solve problems in the world. This project attests that science service learning can make science more concrete and relatable, teaching students not only about the concepts and techniques of science, but its role as a tool for the public good.
This edited collection will stand as the first volume that specifically describes service-learning programs and courses designed as part of teacher education programs in the fields of literacy education, secondary English education, elementary language arts education, and related fields. The contributing authors describe the programs they have developed at their universities and/or in their local communities, providing information about the rationale for their initiative, the design of the course, the outcomes of the experience, and other matters that will help literacy educators develop similar courses and experiences of their own. Additionally, this edited collection will fill a great gap in the field's knowledge of alternative forms of teacher education. It will provide descriptions of service-learning initiatives that have been field-tested with demonstrable results. Thus far the field has produced widely scattered articles in journals covering a variety of disciplines, but no definitive collection of papers in which service-learning designed to promote literacy instruction is housed in a single volume edited for cross-referencing and thematic categorization. The two editors have developed courses and received grants to support service-learning initiatives at their universities and believe that others might develop similar programs if they had better understandings of their value and design. Their intention with this volume is to promote service-learning more broadly among literacy educators.
There is a growing national interest in strengthening the civic mission of higher education (Boyte & Hollander, 1999; Erlich, 1999). This reflects concern with civic life in the United States and a sense that Americans are “drawing back from involvements with community affairs and politics. ” (Skocpol & Fiorina, 1999, p.2). As a result, renewed attention is being given to
At the University of Iowa, 2005-06 is the “Year of Public Engagement ” where “[d]uring this year, the University community will be encouraged to intensify its efforts and sharpen its focus on engagement with the public and public issues at the local, state, national, and international levels ” (University of Iowa, 2006). Putting aside the question of whether one year is enough to do “engagement ” justice, Iowa’s move is just the latest in a series of efforts by colleges and universities to do something to better connect students, faculty, and staff to the community at large. The idea of engagement has spawned a mini industry of late as institutions of all types struggle with the question of what it means to be “engaged. ” While this is in fact a very big question, our paper focuses on a small, but critical, portion. We are interested in how political science can use “civic ” engagement options to enhance coursework and to reinforce not just involvement in a community, but involvement in the politics of a community. While not negating the importance of working in soup kitchens, or cleaning up polluted streams, we suggest that these activities do not, by themselves, connect students to the civic – that is, the political – in their communities. A political science concern for civic engagement is not really new, though perhaps the