Project LIFE is a multi-year professional development program for middle grades and high school teachers of life science and biology. The project focuses on ecology, environmental science, and organismal biology. The experienced instructional team is composed of two university staff members (both former teachers), a high school science teacher, and a middle grades teacher. All members of the team are Project LIFE graduates.
Teacher participants work as scientists (in both the classroom/laboratory and outdoors) to gain new knowledge, practice process skills through investigative activities, and develop increased confidence in their ability to teach science using standards based instructional and assessment strategies. They work in cooperative groups to design and conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and communicate their results to the class.
Project staff employ questions that require participants to explain, analyze, synthesize and evaluate. Participants experience the use of card sorts, concept mapping, science demonstration assessments, and pictorial assessments to determine understanding of science concepts. Physical science and mathematics are integrated with the biology as participants are involved in reading and writing about the science they are learning.
The program utilizes activities, experiments, and teaching methods that are easily transferred to the classroom. This is reinforced by a strong academic year follow-up including a Science Expo (at which participants present results of an independent research project they have conducted), four academic year workshops, newsletters, and classroom visits by the project site coordinator.
During the summer following the Project LIFE Year One program, selected teachers have the opportunity to participate in the Project LIFE Leadership Institute Level One. Teachers who complete the first two components of the Project LIFE program are eligible to take part in the Project LIFE Leadership Institute Level Two program the next summer.
CATALyST is located on the beautiful campus of Louisiana Tech University, in Ruston, Louisiana.
Project LIFE Office
Room 130, Carson Taylor Hall
Louisiana Tech University
(PO Box 3179)
Ruston, LA 71272-0001