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SOLstice: Summer of Learning - Science Teachers Investigating the Chesapeake Environment

HSF catch SOLstice students investigating the inhabitants of the living shoreline at Hull Springs Farm

Science and Civic Issues

This innovative program, launched in 2011, brings together university faculty, practicing middle-school and upper elementary teachers and pre-service teachers (i.e., Longwood Liberal Studies students) to work collaboratively as "teacher-researchers."   The Chesapeake Bay is the context in which these teacher-researchers will conduct research and consider critical curricular linkages to the middle and upper elementary school classrooms. 

The three-week academic design of this program perfectly mirrors the MWEE (Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience) recommendations that experiences should consist of a preparation phase, an outdoor action phase and a reflection, analysis and reporting phase.

 Goals of the Course

  • To engage practicing and pre-service teachers actively in scientific investigation, emphasizing inquiry learnin
  • To increase the participants’ content knowledge of selected Chesapeake Bay issues
  • To introduce participants to tools, techniques and technology used in field data Collection Watershed Educational Experiences for their own students
  • To engage practicing and pre-service teachers with practicing scientists and natural resource professionals
  • To reenergize practicing teachers in the disciplines that brought them into teaching in the first place
  • To inspire pre-service teachers to become teacher-researchers.
  • To introduce participants to valuable resources that can enrich their students’ classroom and field experiences
  • To focus on issues and environmental subjects included in the Virginia Science Standards of Learning


SOLstice: Summer of Learning - Students and Teachers Investigating the Chesapeake Environment


In 2012 we added a writing course to the SOLstice program, changing the acronym just a bit to Summer of Learning: Students and Teachers Investigating the Chesapeake Environment.  In their writing assignments and videos students considered various aspects of the environment and the rich history in Westmoreland County as subjects. Immersion in the environmentally inspiring habitat of Hull Springs Farm provides unique perspectives for students as they complete their writing projects.  We anticipate that a small service project will be included in the 2014 experience.

Goals of the Course

  • Develop instructional plans through collaboration and inquirey learning
  • Increase literacy instruction content knowledge
  • Practice in researching and creating multi genre texts
  • Engage in discussions with professionals from varied disciplines
  • Utilize "place as text" field experiences and resources to enrich literacy instruction
  • Focus on the literacy knowledge, skills, and understandings in the Virginia 2010 English Standards of Learning


Printable Fliers:      Science and Civic Issues       Writing