NSF GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellows Program
University of Maine
Our fellows bring authentic research experiences into K-12 classrooms, especially ones that allow K-12 students to do hypothesis testing using appropriate controls and replication of treatments. These are hallmarks of good science, and the American public needs to understand them in order to be scientifically literate. Unfortunately, controls and replication often receive little attention due to constraints of teacher time and funding. Real projects that our Fellows have taken into K-12 classes include: a) studies of near-shore circulation by multiple releases of tagged oranges, their recovery by the public over the next week, and modeling of results; 2) helping an organic blueberry grower develop a blueberry tea product for market by analyzing anthocyanin concentrations, 3) analysis of seed preferences of different species of birds, 4) force testing of materialsí composites, 5) watershed characterization in areas near a pristine forest and forest adjacent to a large landfill, 6) vegetation analysis pre- and post- dam removal on the Penobscot River, 7) small mammal species diversity in Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 8) the effect of controlled burns in Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge on vegetation, and 9) sensory testing of Maine sea vegetables to choose a target for crop development in aquaculture. Fellows, teachers, and students benefit from these projects because they unify teaching and research from graduate school to elementary school.