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.
From 2017 to 2021 we developed quarter-long, multi-lesson (16-19hrs) Earth Science Modules for grades 2-4 that are aligned with grade-specific NGSS and are centered on inquiry-driven science learning. We strove 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. Our volunteers co-tough the Modules with participating teachers in three Providence public schools (Vartan Gregorian, Pleasant View, and Martin Luther King) on a rotating basis. Each year ~30 members of our department (graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, and faculty) get involved in the program.
In the academic year 2022-2023, Providence elementary and middle schools will transition to a new and unified science curriculum (Amplify). DEEPS STEP’s new goal will be to assist teachers in their transition to this new material and increased science-teaching load, focusing on Earth Science teaching.