K-12 Education

We strive to create opportunities that engage and energize students within the IML-CZO, catalyze local momentum, and support the research effort. With this in mind, we will build our education and outreach efforts through multiple programs and workshops. We are working to tie in science teacher education with local work in schools and community colleges in the Midwest, which some of the involved institutions are currently doing through existing REU programs. This work is being expanded in a more formal way through site visits for students and teachers, as well as demonstrations and talks in local area schools. We also supervise and engage underrepresented students exposing them to complex interdisciplinary STEM problems.

Middle school students use the weather station.

Outreach activities have been completed, including a professional development day on June 20 when 25 teachers explored the NGSS bundle created to engage students in CZO activities related to local events in Iowa, with a follow-up on August 10. An event on Oct. 28 brought an additional 25 teachers to work through more CZO investigations. We hope to see the rollout in 8th grade classrooms throughout Iowa next spring.

We installed a weather station through IML-CZO project on the Fowler Farm (40.151018, -88.333556) in March 2017 as a Junior Observatory for middle and high school students. We hoped to create an opportunity for the students to use the station as a lab and bring in a number of interesting angles to their experience. Two groups of 8th grade science students (105 and 103 students, respectively) are tracking air temp, soil temps at five depths, and solar radiation. In our astronomy unit, students can relate these data to decreasing daylight hours and seasonal changes as they study tilt of the earth, solstices, equinoxes, and seasons. They have been doing daily logging since Sept. 11. The students collect data and use charts and graphs to communicate data patterns and to demonstrate proficiency with the use of data as evidence in claims, evidence, reasoning (CER) assessments. 

With the help of the UIUC Extension program, IML-CZO has been developing online courses for crop advisor certification. Prof. Bruce Rhoads (UIUC) and Prof. Thanos Papanicolaou (University of Tennessee-Knoxville) will offer two 50-minute online courses on sediment source and transport in December 2017.


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