The Pacific Education and Research for Leadership in Science (PEARLS) project is a five-year partnership with the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). PEARLS seeks to help middle-school students in Hawai‘i and other Pacific Islands learn more about scientific inquiry through the study of the local environment and about the kinds of careers available in science and technology. In this, its second year, the program trained some 40 teachers from Hawai‘i, American Sāmoa, Saipan, Yap, and Pohnpei through institutes held in Hawai‘i. Activities focused on inquiry-based teaching using CRDG’s award-winning middle-school science program Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST). FASTis an inquiry-based curriculum that teaches foundational concepts of physical, biological, and earth sciences as well as ecology and science and society. Grounded in field and laboratory work, FAST provides a strong foundation for students to succeed in high school and post-secondary science courses. Half of the teachers at this year’s institutes had gone through their initial training the previous summer, and half were a part of a new cohort in their first year of training.
In addition to the summer institutes in Honolulu, follow-up support is provided to teachers throughout the year through distance technology and in-person site visits by CRDG staff.