GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 26-20
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


DERE, Ashlee Laura Denton1, STOVER, Lee A.2, BENZONI, Rachel3, SHUSTER, Robert D.1, RODIE, Steve4, CUTUCACHE, Christine4, GRANDGENETT, Neal5 and TAPPRICH, William4, (1)Department of Geography/Geology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182, (2)Burke High School Science Dept, Omaha Public Schools, 12200 Burke Blvd, Omaha, NE 68154, (3)Omaha Public Schools, Northwest High School Science Dept., 8204 Crown Point Ave., Omaha, NE 68134, (4)Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182, (5)Department of Teacher Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182

Engaging high school and undergraduate students in research has the potential to influence student learning, attitudes, and future career choices. To involve both student groups in research experiences, we developed a collaboration between faculty and undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and high school teachers within the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) as part of the Teacher-Researcher Partnership Program (TRPP). In this collaborative model, undergraduate students serve as research mentors to high school students by helping them identify and answer research questions through both field and laboratory experiences and publicly present research results at a joint UNO/OPS Research Symposium at the end of the semester. Initial collaborations involved high school environmental science students and an undergraduate soils course, where undergraduate students learned soil field and laboratory methods and developed their own semester research projects focused at Glacier Creek Preserve, a local field site maintained by UNO. Over the course of the semester, the undergraduate and high school students interacted once in the field and once in the laboratory to help high school students design research projects related to soils at Glacier Creek Preserve and their schoolyard. All students met again at the end of the semester during the poster symposium, where they shared their results. The collaboration has evolved over the last two years to include six different UNO/OPS classroom partnerships focused on a range of research in environmental science, chemistry, biology and sustainability. We are currently collecting pre/post attitude data to determine if there are gains in student attitudes at both the undergraduate and high school level as a result of this collaboration. We hypothesize that undergraduate students will benefit from this collaboration by reinforcing their understanding of the material by teaching high school students; high school students will largely benefit from improved confidence and attitudes about science. Ultimately, we aim to further integrate our diverse ongoing collaboration using inquiry-driven research projects to enhance scientific literacy and critical thinking skills at both the high school and undergraduate level.