Saint Joseph's University
GeoKids LINKS continues to shape a program where Fellows follow a logical progression as they refine teaching and curriculum development skills. New Fellows begin by assisting teachers and more experienced Fellows with existing units. For the past two years, second semester Fellows have coordinated a small group of Service Learning students who teach a six-week thematic hands-on unit in two 4th grade classes. Thus, we are expanding the impact of the program beyond the graduate students. Experienced Fellows are not only leading semester-long units in classes and mentoring new students, they have also taken on leadership roles in planning an end-of-year celebration on campus for all participants and developing a “Fellows Manual.” In 2005, Fellows developed a successful workshop for teachers that used a forensic/crime scene investigation theme to introduce new techniques. Evaluation data continue to indicate improved academic outcomes for participating children as well as benefits to Fellows and teachers. Analysis of standardized test scores showed that children who were part of the GeoKids program made more progress not only in science, but also in reading and math, compared to non-participating students at their schools. Fellows are MS students; all 2005 graduates entered doctoral programs, and each of this year’s second year Fellows had an off-campus research component and presented outcomes at one or more professional meetings. See http://www.sju.edu/gk12/ for curriculum outlines, outcomes, and forms.