URI and RIC team up to enhance K-12 science

More than 200 public school teachers returned to their classrooms this fall with a new enthusiasm for hands-on science thanks to a URI partnership with Rhode Island College to enhance science education in K–12 schools. Called the Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Sciences Project (RITES), the project brought K–12 teachers to URI for the fourth consecutive summer of short courses designed to expand their knowledge of science and to share strategies for incorporating it into their curriculums.

With a $12.5 million grant received in 2008 to launch the program, RITES also offers K–12 teachers two years of professional development, various opportunities to share ideas, and free online modules to use with their students. Led by URI Professor Emeritus Daniel P. Murray and RIC Professor Glennison de Oliveira, the program has reached 450 middle- and high-school teachers in 27 Rhode Island school districts thus far.

Pairing higher education faculty with K–12 teachers is a key part of the program. “The faculty member brings the science knowledge, and the teacher brings the pedagogical knowledge,” said Howard Dooley, who manages the program. “Together, they create an investigation that is technically accurate, interesting to students, and based on science standards.”

According to RITES teacher Buddy Comet, “One of the main benefits for my students has been the in-class collaboration with RITES and higher education. We’ve had multiple visits from professors and graduate students to extend our students’ learning and experiences.”