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TENNMAPS for the Future: First Tennessee Field Service Center's Earth and Environmental Sciences Partnership: Improving Teacher Content Knowledge and Student Performance in Sixteen Tennessee Local Education Agencies


ABSTRACT: TENNMAPS for the Future is the Tennessee-specific product modeled after SC MAPS (South Carolina Maps and Aerial Photographic Systems) and SE MAPS, the highly successful National Science Foundation-sponsored interdisciplinary map- and remote-sensing educational product developed for eight states (Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) and now successfully in use in many schools. TENNMAPS for the Future further enhances the effectiveness of these programs for use in Tennessee by the introduction of hands-on, minds-on experimental activities (e.g., cave formation, flooding, initiating model landslides, impact craters), by enriching the content-knowledge base of its environmental science component, and by using region-specific Tennessee remote sensing imagery and maps. This earth and environmental science program uses group learning (3-5 students) to engage students to explore landscape and cultural relationships on imagery and maps in activities precisely aligned with Tennessee and NSDC science standards. The activities integrate environmental earth science with mathematics, geography, history, language arts, and culture so that they are ideally suited for group teaching. The activities are modeled upon research-based practices (e.g., application of multiple intelligences, linking prior knowledge, cooperative learning, identifying similarities and differences, providing feedback, generating and testing hypotheses). TENNMAPS also teaches many skillsets transferable into life beyond scholastic environments, such as teamwork, problem solving, estimation, improved mutual respect for real and potential contributions of others, and instilling a desire for lifelong learning.