DEEPS STEP - Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences’ Science-Teaching and Education Program

is the outreach program of our department that works in partnership with Providence Public Schools’ Department (PPSD) in order to develop and bring Earth Science lessons into local elementary classrooms.

DEEPS STEP is the outreach program of our department that works in partnership with Providence Public Schools’ Department (PPSD) in order to develop and bring Earth Science lessons into local elementary classrooms.

The department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (DEEPS) has been actively involved in science outreach with Providence public schools since early 2000. From 2007-2014, a NSF GK-12 grant (PI:Prof Tim Herbert) supported the work of 9 graduate students involved in science lesson development and teaching in several local public schools. After the grant’s completion, DEEPS graduate student volunteers continued the outreach work at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School.

With the introduction of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in Rhode Island schools in 2016 our program was re-designed under the leadership of the program’s coordinator, Olga Prilipko Huber, to focus on the goal of assisting PPSD teachers in their transition to NGSS and the three dimensions of learning.

We develop quarter-long, multi-lesson Earth Science Modules for grades 2-5 that are aligned with grade-specific NGSS and are centered on inquiry-driven science learning. Our volunteers co-teach the Modules with participating teachers in three Providence public schools (Vartan Gregorian, Pleasant View and Martin Luther King). Each year ~30 members of our department (graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs and faculty) get involved in the program.

We strive to make the science lessons engaging, creating a supportive learning environment that encourages both students and teachers to ask questions and experiment as they learn about Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences.

Current Partners

In partnership with Providence Public School Department:

  • Vartan Gregorian Elementary School (2016-present);
  • Pleasant View Elementary School (2017-present);
  • Upcoming: Martin Luther King Elementary School (2020-);

Read more here.

Our Goals

  1. Develop high quality NGSS-aligned, inquiry-driven Earth Science lessons
  2. Assist PPSD teachers in bringing Earth Science lessons to their classrooms
  3. Help improve access to science education for Providence children, particularly for children from disadvantaged socio-economical backgrounds
  4. Offer a teaching and community-oriented experience to Brown grad and undergrad students, postdocs and faculty

How our Program Works?

Our program is designed to help teachers introduce Earth Science modules in their classrooms over the course of two years:

First year (Phase I):

  • Participating teachers and DEEPS STEP coordinators meet prior to the start of the academic Quarter to go over the lesson plans and teaching strategies.
  • DEEPS STEP volunteers co-teach the lesson plans with the teachers once a week for 8 -10 weeks and prepare and supply the materials needed for the activities. At the end of each lesson, teachers and volunteers will make notes on what worked during the lesson and what can be improved.

Second year (Phase II):

  • Participating teachers and DEEPS STEP coordinators meet prior to the start of the academic Quarter to go over the lesson plans and teaching strategies.
  • Participating teachers take the lead in teaching the Earth Science Module, with DEEPS STEP volunteers acting as support. DEEPS STEP volunteers provide and prepare materials for the lessons each week. At the end of the lesson, teachers will give feedback on the lesson to the volunteers.
  • After the completion of the two-year program, DEEPS STEP stays in contact with our Alumni Teachers to provide support for science-related questions that arise during the lessons. We are also happy to organize guest scientists to come speak with students and to talk about our research.

Our Team:

Contact info

324 Brook St, Providence, RI 02912

olga_prilipko_huber@brown.edu

Earth Science Modules

3rd Grade Module: Weather and Climate

In this 20hr Module, students explore the topics of weather and climate through the Monarch butterflies migration. Aligned with NGSS (3-ESS-2-1, 3-ESS2-2, 3-ESS3-1), this Module develops the scientific method approach (CER), data analysis and interpretation, beginning of scientific argumentation.

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2nd Grade Module: Alien Scientists and Earth Changes

Articulated around 2nd grade NGSS (2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1, 2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3), this Module opens with the following premise and question: You are scientist from another planet who have travelled a very long time to come here. You have a map of the planet you need to get to, but when you arrive, what you see on the planet's surface does not match your map. Are you in the right place? Students will investigate this question through observation and exploration of Earth features and events.

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Who we are