Colors of Nature Highlighted by Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education

Broadening participation in science by integrating art with STEM

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Laura Conner November 10, 2016

Visual-spatial ability underlies success in both art and science, yet few girls with this talent go on to enter STEM careers. At the root of the problem is the story we often hear about girls and science: many don’t see science as relevant to their interests, and they often see science as rote, uncreative, and passionless. We launched “Project STEAM: Integrating art with science to build science identities among girls” (NSF DRL-1224020) to counteract these views and connect to the existing interests of artistic girls.

Continue reading the article: http://www.informalscience.org/news-views/broadening-participation-science-integrating-art-stem

Permafrost Tunnel Outreach Funded

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute received a four year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support an Innovations in Development project for Advancing Informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Learning (AISL).

The project, Hot Times in Cold Places: The Hidden World of Permafrost (PF-World), builds and expands on a half-century of climate-related education and outreach activities at the nation’s only research permafrost tunnel, located near Fox, Alaska. Using permafrost as a focus, the investigators will explore the power of immersive experiences and real objects to improve learning about climate change. At the same time, the project will broaden the reach of the tunnel, with its demonstrated ability to get people excited about permafrost, by developing programs and exhibits that will travel throughout Alaska and the rest of the U.S.

The project has four components: 1) development of a 2000 square-foot traveling exhibit that will tour the nation, starting with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland; 2) exhibit and program enhancements to the learning opportunities at the tunnel itself; 3) programs, table-top exhibits and oral history collection that will take place (over 4 years) in about 27 predominantly Native Alaskan villages; and 4) an education research study.

Professor Matthew Sturm is the principal investigator for the project. Research Assistant Professor Laura Conner is co-investigator, while Angela Larson, owner of the Goldstream Group, will serve as the external evaluator. Postdoctoral Fellow Santosh Panda and Senior Science Consultant Jessica Garron will take the Traveling Program ‘tunnel on the road’ to 27 small, remote and mostly native communities in Alaska on a rolling schedule.

Two key partners in the project are the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, who operates the tunnel, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), who will build the first-ever national travelling exhibit on permafrost. Vicki Coats of OMSI serves as a co-investigator on the project. The 2000 square-foot traveling exhibit is expected to be at three museums per year for eight years.

The overarching goal of the project is to engage the public in the topic of the nature and prevalence of permafrost, its scale on the earth and the important role it plays in the global climate.

Polar TREC

Project Dates: 2006-2014
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, PolarTREC – Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating, is a teacher professional development program, brings K-12 educators and polar researchers together through hands-on field experiences in the Arctic and Antarctic. Goldstream Group uses a mixed method design incorporating descriptive components and a simple before/after design to measure what teachers and students learned over the course of teacher participation in the project. To evaluate PolarTREC Goldstream Group uses a teacher pre/post survey with content and pedagogical questions; a student pre/post survey to measure students changes in knowledge and interest in the Polar Regions; a researcher annual survey; and a survey assessing the use of PolarTREC’s online resources. In addition, Goldstream Group is also conducting a case study of exceptional PolarTREC participants which includes individual interviews and classroom observations. Goldstream Group analyzes all data and provides annual written reports.

Pre-School Evaluation

Project Dates: 2008-2013
Project Lead: Barbara Sundberg
Client: Yukon-Koyukuk School District

With a grant from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD) operated four pre-Kindergarten classrooms during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. Programs were located at Allakaket, Huslia, Kaltag, and Minto. To document the impact of the pre-school program on student progress, Goldstream Group developed a Student Progress Checklist based on the domain areas described in the State of Alaska Early Learning Guidelines; developed parent satisfaction surveys; analyzed student PPVT and Dial 3 data; and conducted observations of classrooms. Goldstream Group provided annual written reports.

Expanding our Horizons

Project Dates: 2008-2013
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Yukon-Koyukuk School District

Expanding Our Horizons, funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop English language skills of students in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District. To document the impact of the project on teachers and students, Goldstream Group designed teacher satisfaction surveys, interviewed teachers; conducted observations of project activities, and analyzed student standards based assessment data. Goldstream Group provided annual written reports and completed U.S. Department of Education reporting forms.

Survey Design

Project Date: 2009
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Barrow Environmental Observatory Subcommittee/North Slope Borough

The Barrow Logistics support Assessment Survey was disseminated to principal investigators working in the Barrow area and adjacent areas and communities to assess the effectiveness of present logistics support provided to researchers and to improve future services. Goldstream Group designed an online survey, analyzed the survey responses data, and wrote a summary report.

Portable Planetarium

Project Dates: 2009-2011
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Funded by NASA, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute (GI) and University of Alaska Museum of the North (UAMN) developed the Portable Planetarium Project to provide a traveling “NASA Day” to rural Alaskan communities. Goldstream Group developed a rubric to assess the science, culture, and academic content of the Portable Planetarium presentations; developed an online pre/post test for students to complete before and after seeing the Portable Planetarium presentation; and developed a satisfaction survey for participants who attended community science night activities. Goldstream Group analyzed all data and provided annual written reports.

Next Generation Evaluation

Project Dates: 2009-2013
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Juneau School District

In the fall of 2008, the Juneau School District began to implement its Next Generation: Our Kids, Our Community high school education plan. The plan includes several components, including theme-based academies, 9th grade smaller learning communities, and expanded extracurricular activities. Goldstream Group’s five-year evaluation includes written surveys with teachers and students, focus groups with students, individual interviews with teachers, and statistical analysis of student cohort data. Goldstream Group provides a written annual report and presentation to the Board of Education.

UAM Planning Survey and Focus Groups

Project Date: 2010
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Museum of the North

The University of Alaska Museum of the North undertook an exploratory performance indicator study. The goal of the project was twofold: 1) to develop a preliminary understanding of stakeholder perceptions and attitudes about the Museum and 2) to inform future front-end evaluation for planned Museum programming and exhibits. Goldstream Group developed an online survey and conducted focus groups with UAMN key stakeholders; analyzed survey and focus group data and provided a written report.

MapTEACH

Project Dates: 2010-2013
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Fairbanks

MapTEACH: Mapping Technology Experiences with Alaska’s Community Heritage, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides professional development through a combination of activities, including direct instruction in geography and geology content from University of Alaska Scientists, completion of MapTEACH lessons under the guidance of project scientists, and implementing the curriculum in their classrooms with their own students. To measure the impact of the MapTEACH project, Goldstream Group developed pre/post surveys for teachers to report increases in knowledge and understanding; pre/post surveys for students to report increases in knowledge and understanding; surveys to assess the delivery of professional development; interviews with teachers; and observations of project activities.

GK-12 CASE

Project Dates: 2010-2015
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Fairbanks

The GK-12 CASE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a partnership between University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) science graduate students and K-12 teachers in three Alaska school districts. The project’s intellectual focus is climate change and its impacts on Alaska, and the project’s partnership will advance understanding of the scientific concepts fundamental to this topic in this high-latitude region. The program will place 10 graduate fellows per year in local and rural Alaska schools, with 5 at the elementary level and 3 at the high school level in the FNSBSD and 2 fellows in partnering rural districts. To measure the impact of the GK-12 CASE project on graduate fellows and teachers Goldstream Group developed pre/post knowledge surveys; end-of-year surveys for participants; summer institute feedback forms; and a faculty mentor/advisor survey. In addition, Goldstream Group developed a student pre/post survey to measure the student interest in science before and after their teachers participated in the GK-12 project. Goldstream Group will analyze all survey data and provide annual written reports.

Survey Design

Project Date: 2011
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Alaska Staff Development Network January 2011

Alaska Staff Development Network annually surveys its professional development participants and network partners to assess their satisfaction with ASDN professional development and to ask participants to detail professional development they would like to see in the future. Goldstream Group revised ASDN’s online survey tools, analyzed survey data, and provided a written report of the results.

Bridging the Gap

Project Dates: 2011-2012
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: Interior Aleutians Campus

Bridging the Gap, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides services and coursework at the AA/AS level that result in seamless transitions for students as they move from participation in Future Educators of Alaska Clubs in high school to the Interior‐Aleutians Campus for their work toward the Associate’s degree. The project hopes to increase the numbers and preparedness of Alaska Native educators. Goldstream Group will conduct and analyze individual interviews with project participants and provide a written report of the results.

Northern Journeys

Project Dates: 2001-2002
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Museum of the North

Northern Journeys, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Opportunity Program: To develop online Museum resources for teachers and students. The Goldstream Group’s evaluation of Northern Journeys included the use of interviews with key informants; observations of classroom teachers; a daily log of technology use; parent survey; and analysis of student work. Goldstream Group analyzed all survey and interview data and wrote annual reports.

Master Artist Residencies

Project Dates: 2003-2005
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Museum of the North

Master Artist Residencies, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts: To bring master artists to the University of Alaska Museum of the North for week-long residencies. Goldstream Group’s evaluation included key informant interviews; observations of project activities; and student, public audience; and artist surveys. Goldstream Group analyzed all survey and interview data and wrote annual reports.

Sense of Alaska

Project Dates: 2003-2005
Project Lead: Angela Larson
Client: University of Alaska Museum of the North

Sense of Alaska, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services: To develop an online database of University of Alaska Museum of the North objects. Evaluation of the Sense of Alaska project was primarily process oriented, with the goal of providing information and feedback to the Museum to use in improving future projects. Goldstream Group’s evaluation included interviews with key informants; classroom observations; written surveys of teachers, technology training participants, UAMN visitors, and online LearnAlaska users; and analysis of website usage statistics. Goldstream Group analyzed all survey and interview data and wrote annual reports.