The NERDS (Nevada Educators Really Doing Science) program is a year-long program at the Raggio Research Center, funded by the EPSCoR Nexus grant.
The program combines a focus on professional development in science teaching with research in science education.
The participants of the program are educators from the state of Nevada. The NERDS program is dedicated to helping teachers develop their skills in teaching science through the process of inquiry and documenting the research process. Every NERDS course is designed to lead teachers, step by step, from "expert"-designed investigations to student-centered investigations through an active process of participation.
NERDS teacher participants traveled to Lake Tahoe during the summer of 2016. Only about 45 minutes from the University of Nevada, Reno, Lake Tahoe's forests and meadows conveniently provided many lakes, rivers and streams for investigating the water quality in the region. The teachers split into three groups. Each group formulated a question for research and using Hach Kits tested samples and recorded data. Later, each group discussed their findings. Teachers started their learning from scratch, similar to what their students experience every time a new concept is taught in the classroom. Upon returning home, they planned and carried out a lesson plan incorporating all of the skills and information they learned in the field, which is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.