UNH Cooperative Extension, in partnership with the Joan and James Leitzel Center, has received a National Science Foundation Discovery Research PreK-12 (NSF DRK-12 #1721133) grant to improve science education in New Hampshire’s schools by bringing together elementary school teachers and Cooperative Extension science volunteers for a community-based professional development partnership. The team is the first at UNH to receive a highly-competitive NSF DRK-12 grant.
Known as Schoolyard Science Investigations by Teachers, Extension Volunteers and Students (Schoolyard SITES), the project connects elementary school teachers with Extension science volunteers in a partnership that improves educators’ confidence, science content knowledge and instructional practice. Together with an UNH interdisciplinary team of experts, teachers and volunteers will learn how to design and implement locally-relevant, community-based citizen science projects with elementary school students.
Project Team: Lara Gengarelly, a UNH Cooperative Extension associate professor and specialist in science education and outreach; Malin Clyde, a UNH Cooperative Extension specialist in community volunteer development and program manager of Nature Groupie; Erik Froburg, project director at the UNH Leitzel Center for STEM education; Sameer Honwad, an assistant professor of learning sciences at SUNY Buffalo; Haley Andreozzi, UNH Cooperative Extension’s wildlife outreach program coordinator; and Megan Glenn, volunteer coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension’s STEM Docent program.
Project Participants: Approximately 50 N.H. elementary school teachers (grades 2-5) from participating school districts and 30 UNH Cooperative Extension science volunteers will participate during a three-year period.
Cooperative Extension science volunteers will come from programs such as Natural Resource Stewards, Marine Docents, Master Gardeners, Coastal Research Volunteers and others. Professional development workshops are expected to begin in the summer of 2018 and teachers and volunteers will collaborate over the course of a single school year.