2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 5:15 PM


ROSS, Robert M. and HARNIK, Paul G., Education, Paleontological Rsch Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, rmr16@cornell.edu

There is growing interest in involving students of all backgrounds in authentic research, based on the increasing realization that effective science education engages students in hands-on inquiry characteristic of doing science. While a few large-scale student-scientist partnerships (e.g., GLOBE) have been developed, the percentage of American school children who have had the opportunity to participate in them remains low. What would it take to make student-scientist partnerships (SSPs) a typical experience for all students?

Increased student participation in SSPs can occur through (1), increasing the number of SSPs and (2), scaling-up of effective pre-existing SSPs. For research collaborations to diversify and grow, both researchers and educators must be convinced that SSPs are of value. Within the research community, participation must result in collection of new and useful data, increased scientific productivity, and expansion of funded research. For educators, improvement in student attitudes and performance must be demonstrated.

Ideally, SSPs that meet these criteria for effectiveness should be scaled up to reach students over a broader age range, geographic region, and variety of educational contexts (e.g., museums, enrichment programs, youth groups). Some research programs in the solid Earth geosciences, however, may face logistical challenges, such as in sample collection and distribution.

The Paleontological Research Institution has been testing the scientific and educational effectiveness of the “Devonian Seas Project,” which engages 4th to 9th graders in NY State in analysis of high-resolution faunal change from Devonian marine shales. This SSP, until now introduced through local classroom programs, is being expanded to include schools in other regions and visitors to interactive museum exhibits. A goal of this project is to help facilitate a national expansion of SSPs through developing a model for “GLOBE-icizing” SSPs in the geosciences.