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Abstract Detail

The fruitful outcome of graduate student-designed curricula: research modules, publishing opportunities, and outreach inspired by the NSF’s Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program

Steele, Pamela [1].

From the rainforest to the classroom: connecting students with field research.

Introducing middle school-aged children to current scientific investigations can help them make connections between real-world issues and concepts they are learning in the classroom. Through the NSF GK-12 program at the Environmental Science Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, sixth and seventh-grade students at Fulmore Middle School in Austin and Park Crest Middle School in Pflugerville, TX learned about water quality issues, the importance of biodiversity, phytoremediation, and invasive species. Using scientific studies from biology, environmental science, aquatic science, geology, and botany, the primary focus of the program was to enlighten students about the impacts of environmental change on Texas habitats and residents. Expanding science lessons beyond Texas ecosystems, through a website called the Jungle Journal designed specifically for this program, students interacted with a botanical researcher while she traveled to Bolivia and Peru on a plant-collecting trip. On this website, the botanist posted daily journal entries and trip photos. Students viewed the postings and asked questions. In this presentation, specifics of those lessons along with fun student stories will be shared. These student-researcher interactions increased the graduate student's ability to communicate difficult science concepts to grade school students, stimulated student interest in scientific studies, and inspired new lesson ideas for middle school teachers.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Jungle Journal

1 - University of Missouri-Columbia, Biological Sciences, 1201 Rollins St.-Bond LSC 311, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA

middle school students
K-12 lessons
online learning tools
tropical rainforest.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY08
Location: Forsyth Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: SY08002
Abstract ID:104

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