PARK Teachers Program

Engaging Teachers in the Discovery Experience

Teachers identifying macroinvertebrates
Arming thousands of teachers nationwide with an understanding of the relevance of national parks as living classrooms.

The primary goal of the PARK Teachers Program is to create partnerships between National Park Service education staff and science methods faculty from local universities. Each park/university partner team designs a science module for pre-service teachers, selecting key content based on the park’s natural resources which are uniquely suited to teaching that subject. The modules focus on inquiry- and place-based learning strategies, and help the pre-service teachers build confidence in content knowledge and teaching skills in science.

The most impressive feature of the program is the modeling of inquiry-based learning techniques. Participants realize the importance of letting students figure things out for themselves instead of being taught the "right answer." The program allowed teachers to engage in their own discovery experience, thereby increasing the probability that they will incorporate this teaching strategy with future students.