ENHANCING GEOSCIENCE IN THE K-12 CLASSROOM BY BUILDING A NETWORK THAT CONNECTS EDUCATORS WITH LOCAL, CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH
After four SciREN workshops connecting, in total, over 400 teachers and 200 scientists, we wanted to assess whether this effort has enhanced STEM education in the community. Specifically, we wanted to examine if these resources help teachers connect students with the concepts they are required to teach and if having a scientist visit improves student attitudes and knowledge about science. We explored these questions by conducting a broad survey of workshop attendees to determine if participation in this network has enhanced their curriculum, as well as a more targeted survey of teachers who hosted us in their classroom to deliver a lesson on coastal geology and discuss geoscience careers. Preliminary results indicate that these resources have improved curricula by connecting scientific concepts to local research. Additionally, the opportunity for educators to communicate face-to-face with scientists, as well as having scientists visit their classroom, provides context for these resources. The success of this network suggests that this model could be more broadly employed to facilitate outreach in other locations.