Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:25 AM


RADENCIC, Sarah P., Geoscience, Mississippi State University, 172 Winterberry Lane, Starkville, MS 39759, MCNEAL, Karen S., Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695 and HARE, Dwight, Leadership and Foundations, Mississippi State University, PO Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762,

STEM graduate students are in need of outlets to practice personal communication skills to enhance the ability to effectively explain their research to members of society. The Initiating New Science Partnerships in Rural Education (INSPIRE) Graduate K-12 (GK-12) program at Mississippi State University supports STEM graduate students who partner with five local classroom teachers to create engaging Earth and Space science activities related to their research. This partnership allows the graduate students the opportunity to practice vital communication skills for successful dissemination of their research to the general public. Graduate students participate in an extensive workshop with the partner teachers and complete a graduate class on inquiry lesson design to aid in development of interactive experiences for 7th – 12th grade classrooms linking STEM research to local school curriculums. Graduate students and teachers attend Presentation Boot Camp to improve communication skills during verbal exchanges and visual presentations. The training provides an observational protocol that requires participants to complete self-evaluations of videoed communication experiences and is a valuable method for providing feedback to graduate students on the progress of their communication skills. Journaling is utilized by graduate students, teachers, and the management team to evaluate how communication skills are developing over the course of the year. The evaluation of methods the graduate students employ to communicate STEM research in the classroom is completed using the Mathematics and Science Classroom Observational Protocol System (M-SCOPS) to determine levels of learning and the visual/manipulative resources used, as well as the time spent lecturing, conducting labs, and group discussion. Results from twice a year observations of STEM graduate students teaching materials related to their research in the 7th-12th grade classrooms will be presented. Preliminary findings from evaluations suggest that the graduate students expanded the methods they utilized to enhance communication of their research over the course of the year while also exhibiting an increased ability to simplify explanations of different parts of their research that apply to the public school curriculums and real-world scenarios.