Goals. Project RE-SEED has two goals:
- To provide regular science content support in the physical sciences
to middle school teachers who often experience gaps between their preparation
as teachers and the science knowledge they need in the classroom
- To draw on the large reservoir of retired science and technology professionals
who have valuable knowledge, experience, and time
Impact of Program
Students. The ultimate benefactors of RE-SEED are students. It
has been documented that the project's mature, well-trained scientists
and engineers are helping guide students to learn science concepts and
facts as well as the scientific habits of mind and ways of thinking. Also,
real world relationships seem to become clearer to the students because
of the deep appreciation for relevance that the project's retirees have
acquired over the course of long careers. Students also tell evaluators
that they are inspired to learn science by the presence of the RE-SEED
Teachers say RE-SEED retirees help them become more prepared
to teach science by being content resources and by modeling what scientists
do and how they think. Surveys show that the teachers also feel inspired,
develop more confidence as well as understanding, and appreciate the extra
pair of skilled hands and highly schooled minds.
Participating Scientists find their work in the classrooms intellectually
stimulating and emotionally rewarding. Roughly 75% return the following
year. Of those who don't, about half are unable to due to circumstances
such as moving to Florida or returning to work. Many of the retirees have
been recognized by their schools, their communities, and even by their
town officials. Numerous articles have been written about them in the local
and national press. Some retirees find a whole new life as a SRA and spend
a significant portion of each week building equipment and otherwise preparing
for their day in school.
Retiree Roles. In acting as Science Resource Agents
(SRAs) in support of middle-school physical science teachers, RE-SEED retirees
form true partnerships with the teachers with whom they are placed, planning
jointly the ways they will participate in the teachers' classrooms.
The SRAs come equipped with demonstrations and hands-on, inquiry-centered
activities for students, all of which they have been trained in and for
which they receive the Project
SEED Kit and the Project SEED Sourcebook of Demonstrations, Activities,
and Experiments . The kit contains about 40 kinds of tools and instruments,
from alcohol lamps and carbon batteries to plastic trays and glass vials.
SRAs often also supply to students a variety of simple, expendable materials,
such as paper clips and fasteners, salt, sand, and vinegar, as well as
additional equipment they might have on hand from a lifetime of work in
science and/or engineering.
Because middle-school science teachers often teach as many as five or
six classes in a single day, the SRAs have an impact on far more children
than they might if working in an elementary school.
Instructional Program: Teacher Roles.Teachers plan with their
SRAs what the SRAs will do in the classroom and when. They are present
in the classroom when the SRAs are doing demonstrations or leading activities
and investigations, both because it is usually required by law and because
it is intended that teachers will learn more science content and scientific
habits of mind and ways of thinking by careful observation and participation
in these sessions. Teachers are also encouraged to use their SRAs as content
resources outside the classroom.
Materials. All the demonstrations, activities, and experiments are
drawn from a Sourcebook of roughly 200 such activities, largely
in physics. RE-SEED retirees are also supplied with a basic kit of materials
and 17 one-hour videotapes of the two developers of the Sourcebook
modeling the teaching of various of the activities.
RE-SEED Retiree Recruitment,
Training, and Placement. Retirees are recruited from industry and academia,
are trained for 12 full days to become SRAs, and are then placed with teacher-partners
in schools in areas of the retirees' choice.
RE-SEED School and
Teacher Recruitment. RE-SEED staff keeps a running list of schools
that request volunteers. Schools customarily contribute a small amount
of funds to RE-SEED for each retiree placed to help defray the cost of
training SRAs and operating the program.
RE-SEED Leaders. Some of
the most effective SRAs receive 10 additional days of training and become
leaders who train other retirees.
and More. Although RE-SEED is creating or planning to create new Regional
Centers for recruitment, training, and placement in Atlanta, Denver, Portland,
Oregon, and Stockholm, overall direction and leader training will continue
to take place at RE-SEED headquarters in Boston.
Organizational Information and Contacts.
The driving forces behind RE-SEED continue to be its founders, Northeastern
University physicist Alan Cromer and engineer Christos Zahopoulos. The
project has been supported principally by the National Science Foundation
and the Noyce Foundation. This Detail also contains a chronology