EFFORTS TO INCREASE DIVERSITY IN THE GEOSCIENCES AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL: THE SF-ROCKS PROGRAM AT SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY (SFSU)
The high school students are introduced to SF-ROCKS through lesson plans developed to enhance their 9th grade integrated science courses. Lesson plans are linked to the California State Science Standards and focus on the unique geologic environments that surround the schools, thereby helping students to learn how earth science concepts apply to their own neighborhood. A smaller group of students is then selected to participate in a summer and academic year research institute at the SFSU campus. The goal of the institute is to provide meaningful scientific experiences through supervised research projects on geology and meteorology topics in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the 3 years of our program, more than 500 ninth-grade students have been exposed to the SF-ROCKS curriculum and 27 tenth-grade students have participated in the summer and academic year research experiences. We have observed increased interest and skill development as the high school students work closely with university faculty and students. Field and mentoring opportunities for some students also enhance their perspective of the geosciences and make it more likely that they will study geosciences in college. Challenges include coordinating activities with high school teachers, finding families to support their childrens activities, and dealing with a low level of scientific preparation.