LAWRENCE — This week, 10 highschool science lecturers from throughout Kansas have converged on the KU Area Station, simply north of Lawrence, to achieve new data and expertise to share with their college students. They’re spending the week collectively working with KU scientists to study present analysis and strategies that hyperlink to Ok-12 science requirements.
The lecturers — the third group to learn from a five-year program — serve at school districts representing a range of scholars, each city and rural. By way of this system, often called the Ecosystems of Kansas Summer time Institute, members are immersed in area ecology and GIS mapping initiatives.
“I got here right here this yr as a result of environmental science is a brand new class we’re beginning at our faculty,” stated Duane Knoll, science instructor at Newton Excessive College, on the second day of the institute. “This can be a nice likelihood to collaborate with different lecturers to be sure that now we have alternatives to review all of the areas of environmental science; it’s a hands-on method.”
Referring to the group’s first day, on the Area Station’s Cross Reservoir, he added, “Yesterday we spent fairly a little bit of time on the lake; that’s not one thing now we have in central Kansas.”
The institute, funded by a Nationwide Science Basis grant-within-a-grant, was developed and is overseen by Peggy Schultz, a Kansas Organic Survey researcher and a school member in KU’s Environmental Research Program. Schultz stated the targets for this system have been to encourage scientific and ecological literacy, to offer help for lecturers and to encourage college students of their schooling.
“An essential side of the institute is to offer lecturers with a chance to be taught in regards to the ecological analysis on the College of Kansas, Kansas State and different state universities,” Schultz stated. “We need to hyperlink what we’re doing in primary analysis with their work with highschool college students, to advertise understanding of the scientific technique at each educational stage and to create partnerships for college kids to take part in analysis.
“One other essential a part of this program is to let lecturers know they’re appreciated. They’re anticipated to take action a lot, particularly this final yr, and we’re grateful for his or her work educating the following era,” she stated.
Schultz stated this system promoted greater schooling in a broad means — encouraging crucial pondering expertise and a primary understanding of analysis. She stated she additionally hoped it will encourage college students to note and recognize the pure world of their midst and encourage some to decide on a profession in ecology.
By way of the institute, the lecturers spend mornings outdoor at varied Area Station websites, together with the Rockefeller Native Prairie, in addition to a close-by stream and the Free State Prairie website at Lawrence Free State Excessive College. Morning area research concentrate on three areas: aquatic invertebrate ecology, terrestrial ecology, and the interactions of crops and the organisms that stay inside them. Within the afternoons, the group works indoors on the Area Station’s Armitage Schooling Middle, growing inquiry-based curriculum for his or her lecture rooms. This system additionally features a GIS element.
That is the third yr the Summer time Institute is happening; it started in 2018 however was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The NSF will permit a further yr of this system. Individuals are chosen by an utility course of, with info obtainable on the institute’s web site.
Lecturers taking part within the Summer time Institute in 2021:
- Derek Berg, Shawnee Mission South Excessive College, Overland Park
- Brianna Bosley, Derby Excessive College, Derby
- Leslie Campbell, Manhattan Excessive College, Manhattan
- Jim Cera, Riverside Excessive College, Wathena
- Liam Conroy, Hope Road Constitution Academy, Topeka
- Maria Henderson, Kickapoo Nation Excessive College, Powhattan
- Duane Knoll, Newton Excessive College, Newton
- Donna O’Neill, Goessel Excessive College, Goessel
- Angelica Ann Tesch, Remington Whitewater Excessive College, Whitewater
- Jeff Witters, Olathe South Excessive College, Olathe.
Taking part KU researchers:
- Fola Agusto, KU assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology
- Ted Harris, assistant analysis professor, Kansas Organic Survey
- Terra Lubin, postdoctoral researcher within the Bever/Schultz Lab on the Bio Survey and KU
- Susan Magnoli, postdoctoral researcher within the Bever/Schultz Lab on the Bio Survey and KU
- Dana Peterson; assistant analysis professor, Kansas Organic Survey
- Peggy Schultz
- Ben Sikes, survey affiliate scientist and KU affiliate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology
- Maggie Wagner, survey assistant scientist and KU assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.
Two previous members within the Institute from 2018 will talk about their college students’ initiatives involving collaborations with Summer time Institute school:
- Pam Lucas, science instructor at Skyline Excessive College in Pratt, will talk about the highschool challenge she and 4 different lecturers developed through the first Summer time Institute for 4 excessive colleges in central Kansas. Lucas was additionally awarded an NSF RET (Analysis Experiences for Lecturers) grant to write down up the outcomes of that challenge and to develop an ecological unit on the Konza Prairie. Her unit will quickly be obtainable at KU’s NSF EPSCoR web site beneath a bit with sources for highschool college students and lecturers.
- Drew Ising, science instructor for Baldwin Excessive College, Baldwin Metropolis, collaborated with Ted Harris on a challenge accomplished along with his AP Biology course. He and Harris wrote a grant to incorporate Ising’s and his college students’ analysis on the manufacturing of methane in experimental tanks with rising concentrations of glyphosate. These experiments symbolize what’s prone to occur in ponds throughout Kansas and the Midwest on account of glyphosate runoff.
The Summer time Institute is a part of an NSF EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Aggressive Analysis) challenge funded by a $20 million grant introduced in 2017. The NSF challenge, “Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Techniques throughout Kansas (MAPS),” RII Observe-1 Award OIA-1656006, is a collaboration amongst 5 Kansas universities. Matching help comes from the state of Kansas by the Kansas Board of Regents.
“NSF EPSCoR-funded research this huge embrace broader impression initiatives that deliver instant advantages every year within the type of schooling and neighborhood outreach, as with the Summer time Institute,” stated Rosemary Blum, outreach, schooling and variety director for Kansas NSF EPSCoR at KU. “This MAPS grant contains seven schooling and outreach elements, and the institute is simply a kind of packages.”
The MAPS challenge’s principal investigator is Kristin Bowman-James, KU Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. 4 different professors lead and supervise particular components of the analysis: Jim Bever, senior scientist on the Organic Survey and Basis Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Sharon Billings, senior scientist on the Organic Survey and Dean’s Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Ok-State professors Chuck Rice and Walter Dodds.
The Kansas Organic Survey, a KU analysis heart, was established at KU in 1911. It homes quite a lot of environmental analysis labs and distant sensing/GIS packages in Takeru Higuchi Corridor and the West District greenhouse. It additionally manages the three,700-acre KU Area Station, a website for examine within the sciences, arts and humanities.
Prime photograph: Ten secondary science lecturers are taking part within the Ecosystems of Kansas Summer time Institute on the Free State Prairie website at Lawrence Free State Excessive College. Photograph by Kirsten Bosnak.
Proper photograph: Summer time Institute members perform an train utilizing customary area analysis strategies for plant species sampling at Free State Prairie. Photograph by Kirsten Bosnak.