South Dakota teachers to focus on climate change during workshop at BHSU

South Dakota teachers will attend a weeklong climate change workshop at Black Hills State University June 12-16 with the goal of implementing new content in their classrooms. During last year's workshop, teachers Kristina Moran from Rapid City and Susan Roth from Hill City study force and motion using Pasco carts on a track.

Black Hills State University professors earned a grant recently to fund a summer workshop for teachers.

The 20 South Dakota teachers who will be on campus at BHSU in Spearfish June 12-16 for the workshop will focus on Earth and space science concepts as outlined in the new South Dakota Science Standards.

The weeklong workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Janet Briggs, science education specialist at BHSU, and Dr. Abigail Domagall, associate professor of geology at BHSU.

The study of Earth and how it changes over time can helps us better understand the factors that impact climate. Because climate change involves all the disciplines of science, Briggs said teachers can address the topic in various classes including high school chemistry, biology, or middle school Earth Science.

"We are focusing on the climate of South Dakota, how it has changed in the past, and what may occur in the future to make it relevant to the students. Students need to see that science explains the real world outside their door and provides the opportunity to ask many questions and probe for answers," said Briggs.

The workshop will be held in the Geology Lab at BHSU. The teachers from middle and high school grade levels will investigate how geoscience properties such as water, solar energy, and gravity change the Earth's surface and climate in South Dakota. Using global and local data, the teachers will engage with climate change models of Earth's ancient and recent history, and also examine human impact on climate.

Teachers attending the workshop will fulfill part of the Science Specialist Education endorsement through BHSU, an 18-hour program that serves as a content area within the Masters of Science Curriculum and Instruction degree. For teachers who already have a master's degree, the workshop provides a stand-alone endorsement on their teaching certificate.

"The teachers will use the content from the workshop in their classrooms. Additional coursework will be offered throughout the school year that focuses on student learning so teachers can implement investigations and content from the workshop and assess student understanding of the key concepts," said Briggs. "The Science Specialist Program provides an opportunity for teachers to examine how students learn science and offers strategies based on current research to improve the teaching of science."

A No Child Left Behind Title II Part A grant funded through the South Dakota Board of Regents supports the workshop. The grant for funding was written by Briggs and Domagall. Briggs has received nine previous Title II grants that provide funding for teacher professional development in science. For more information contact Briggs at 605-642-6875 or