One-Two Punch: Utilizing Teacher Research Experiences and Related Classroom Activities to Increase Student Interest in STEM
Friday, 19 December 2014
Through collaborations between scientists and educators, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership developed a series of marine geosciences classroom activities and lesson plans -- including the Adopt-a-Microbe project, a collection of hands-on science lessons that use the sub-seafloor microbiology topics to provide engaging pathways for K-12 students to learn about the world around them. The goal of these activities has been to introduce youth to deep ocean exploration, inspire interest in microbial oceanography, and foster higher education goals and career paths in related sciences for our youth. From the beginning, these lessons were developed in close working relationships between scientists and educators, and the lessons geared towards middle school have been recently piloted with the intent to maximize sustained student interest in STEM topics. While teaching these units, educators used surveys, polls, group discussions, and interviews to shed light on correlations between student interest in STEM and their close proximity to exemplary and enthusiastic educators and student leaders who are active in STEM activities such as research projects and expeditions. Educators continue to use Adopt-a-Microbe and related expedition science-based lessons to explore the broader impacts of their professional development in the Geosciences on their students’ professed interest in STEM.