The GK-12 Program in Hawaii: Using the Native Biota for Science Education
University of Hawaii at Manoa
We continue to incorporate graduate research into standards-based education in K-12 classrooms. A strength of our program is its flexibility. Fellows work directly with teachers to provide experiences grounded within their research but that still meet the specific needs of the school groups. Teachers and students are able to experience scientific research, and the fellows gain assistance with their research, while becoming effective communicators of the necessary objectives and knowledge to their “field assistants.” Over the past year, students in Hawaii schools directly contributed to the body of scientific knowledge through diverse projects. These include: examining the success of shearwater colonies in Kauai, tracking the spread of invasive ants, recording the distribution of endemic land snails on Hawaii, monitoring intertidal biodiversity, and measuring the bioenergetic requirements of hammerhead sharks on Oahu. After nearly seven years of building successful partnerships in Hawaii, the fellows shared their model for high-quality environmental education with educators and researchers in Palau. This workshop was an opportunity for fellows to put their pedagogical and scientific knowledge into practice, while experiencing another culture and building potential research connections. Following experiences in the local environment, fellows helped teachers plan lessons based on specific questions about the Palauan environment and succeeded in facilitating GK-12-like partnerships between the 6 participating researchers and 30 educators while helping them build their inquiry-teaching skills.