Paper No. 24
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM

USING INFORMAL COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN RESIDENTIAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AND K-12 SCHOOLS TO FOSTER STUDENT LEARNING AND SUPPORT EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM STANDARDS


RADEMACHER, Laura K.1, BURMEISTER, Kurtis C.2, MCINTOSH, Patrick J.3, BROWN, Christopher J.4 and HARGRAVE, Kimberly L.4, (1)Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211, (2)Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211, (3)Sly Park Environmental Education Center, Sacramento Unified School District, 5600 Sly Park Road, Pollock Pines, CA 95672, (4)Benerd School of Education, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95211, lrademacher@pacific.edu

Residential learning communities (RLCs) provide unique, informal learning environments where students with common interests live together and organically develop co-curricular activities. The Residence for Earth and Environmental Living and Learning (REELL) RLC was founded at the University of the Pacific in 2007 to increase interest and participation in the Earth and environmental sciences. REELL participation is encouraged on two levels: (1) bimonthly guest lectures, field trip experiences, and campus activism efforts, and (2) the development and implementation of year-long research projects designed to produce original outreach materials. Initial REELL-related outreach activities were focused on 6th grade students at the Sly Park School, an environmental education center maintained by the Sacramento Unified School District in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Each year, all 6thgrade classes from the school district (currently ~7000 students) cycle though this campus in week-long periods of hands-on, active learning experiences in the outdoors, making it the obvious choice for the focus of outreach activities.

Our ongoing collaboration with Sly Park School led to the development of two new and interesting ways for REELL participants to both explore new-found interests in the Earth and environment and participate in field trips and outreach. First, we have established a long-term data site on the campus of Sly Park School. Here, 6th grade students use scientific instruments to collect and visualize data in a program that satisfies Federal Common Core Curriculum Standards. Data collected through repeated implementation of these modules (a new group of students arrives every week!) adds to the long-term data set, which is then available for additional analysis, including graphing and interpreting results through time. Second, we have created a system where REELL participants can work together with faculty from Pacific and Sly Park School to develop inquiry-based curriculum designed to increase interest and participation in the Earth and environmental sciences. Follow up assessment of Sly Park students provides insight into the effectiveness of their Sly Park experience at increasing student interest in earth and environmental sciences.