2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM


O'CONNELL, Suzanne, E&ES, Wesleyan Univ, 265 Church St, Middletown, CT 06459 and OZTIZ, Joseph D., Department of Geology, Kent State Univ, 336 McGilvrey Hall, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242-0001, soconnell@wesleyan.edu

For the past three summers we have organized an earth science program for Hartford, CT area students, over 70 % of which were ethnic minorities. During summer 2002, the first summer, two different high school groups were introduced to earth science through research investigations of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. All were invited to participate in monthly field trips during the school year. Trips included visits to museums and aquariums, as well as geological sites. Approximately 6 to 10 students participated each month.

During the second summer (2003), all students who had completed the previous summer’s program were invited to participate in a follow-up program where they reviewed the previous summers work and then taught the material to middle school students. Seven students participated, all had attended at least one school-year field trip. They were paid and transportation was provided. Results included: 1) Many of the students expressed an interest in learning more science, 2) Most of the students felt that they had retained their knowledge from the prior year, 3) Many said that the program had a positive impact on their view of science and that it helped them directly with the science classes they were taking in high school, 4) Many said that it changed the way they viewed the environment and that they felt more confident in their understanding of environmental issues, 5) Virtually all of the students said that the program gave them a much greater respect for teachers, 6) Most of the student said that they enjoyed the opportunity to work with kids and to teach, 7) Several indicated an interest in pursuing a career in teaching and one stated that s/he wanted to be a professor, and 8) Virtually all students who participated said that they would participate again or recommend the program to a friend.

The program as run during the first two summers is very labor intensive. To see if similar benefits and be gained without as much direct contact, this summer (2004) we are assisting in the field component of the middle school river program and plan to continue meeting with students on a monthly basis during the school year.