Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


PETERS, Darwin G., Riverside University High School, Milwaukee Public Schools, 1615 E. Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53211 and HUPPERT, Michele L., Spring Valley Middle-High School, S1450 County Road CC, Spring Valley, WI 54767,

Reaching students at minority-serving institutions is a primary goal of the Research Experience for Teachers (RET), developed under the National Science Foundation. RET supports the active partnerships of K-12 science, technology, engineering, computer and information science, and mathematics (STEM) teachers with university faculty members. Through a six week collaborative program, teachers and researchers work side-by-side; ultimately translating those research experiences into creative classroom activities. Partnerships with high needs schools are especially encouraged, as is participation by underrepresented minorities, women and persons with disabilities. Through this partnership, the secondary teachers worked in state-of-the-art labs where they gained insight on new studies that better engage students who typically find themselves unengaged.

With support from RET and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; one teacher from an urban setting and one teacher from a rural setting collaborated with Dr. Shangping Xu of the Geosciences department to contribute to pioneering research to quantify the effects of biochar amendments on the leaching of nutrient species. In their research, waste-sourced biochars reduced the mass of phosphate leaching by 38-40% and also reduced the initial rate of nitrate leaching.

Darwin Peters, in the urban setting, teaches students with emotional behavioral disabilities in a high performing, high needs school. Working with students who are greatly-overlooked and left behind due to their behavioral challenges, Peters collaborated with the RET faculty advisors and mentor Michele Huppert to design project-based curriculum that tapped into a growing interest among his students and their communities: urban agriculture. Through investigations on water quality and soil fertility, there are great increases in student engagement that can lead to promising learning outcomes. With continued collaboration within the RET framework, local universities and high schools are finally acting as the neighbors they are; nurturing the symbiotic relationships that are helping to drive the next generation of untapped geoscientists in overlooked communities.