• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


HARBOR, Jon, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, WEEKS, Faith, Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, LYNCH, Cyndi, Graduate School, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 and CHILDRESS, Amy, Discovery Learning Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907,

The National Science Foundation has supported GK12 programs at over 200 colleges and universities, and the research literature shows that these programs have major positive impacts on graduate students, K-12 teachers and students. This includes enhanced communication skills and pedagogical knowledge for graduate students, and increased interest, role models and effective curricular materials for teachers and their students. Successful programs include strong long-lasting partnerships between K-12 educators and researchers, and extensive efforts to help researchers understand the realities of K-12 education. However, this is a high cost approach in terms of financial resources and in the amount of time graduate students spend onoutreach.

At Purdue University we are implementing a low cost, locally sustainable GK-12 model through our Graduate School’s Preparing Future Faculty and Preparing Future Professionals programs. This is designed to provide graduate students with a service-learning opportunity that connects their research to effective K-12 outreach. Participants receive some initial training and follow-up session, and are paired with a teacher for a semester. They spend the equivalent of one day a week in the classroom for ten weeks. Early in the program the graduate student acts as an observer and assistant in the classroom, then the graduate student takes on the role of a co-teacher, and towards the end of the program the graduate student develops and implements a curricular unit that brings his or her research theme in to the classroom. This curricular unit meets applicable standards and classroom goals, and has been developed with the teacher so that it can be used in subsequent years.

Analysis of participant narratives indicates that this locally-sustainable program is achieving many of the same outcomes as the NSF-funded program on which it was based. Institutional resources invested include one graduate fellowship to staff the program, and a small number of service learning grants. As this is an ongoing program, faculty and their graduate students with diverse research projects can opt to participate when they want, and thus it provides an effective and relatively easy way to add a meaningful and high quality broader impact component to a research program as the need arises.

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