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A Student-Based Science Outreach Program

Karen Harpp | Assistant Professor | » Download Full Abstract
Geological Sciences

Progressively fewer students are pursuing careers in science-related fields, creating a pressing need to foster interest in the sciences from the elementary to the college level. The proposed pilot project is a student-based outreach program intended to dispel the myth that science is inaccessible and, instead, inspire scientific inquiry. There are two components to the program, one locally based, and a second designed to reach a broader, Internet-based audience. First, undergraduates will design modules using hands-on activities illustrating the importance of science in everyday life, which they will bring to local elementary and middle schools. In addition to bringing science out of the lab and into the hands of students in an accessible manner, the presentations will expose undergraduates to the excitement of teaching young, enthusiastic audiences, an experience that may encourage them to pursue careers in education. The second component is intended as follow-up to the presentations by engaging UI undergraduates in designing dynamic, instructional videos that illustrate ideas for further scientific exploration, which will be disseminated via the Web. The outreach project is new scholarship for the PI at UI, and complements Idaho STEM pipeline efforts and UI's designation of STEM education research as a signature area.