Experiental Citizen Science Training For The Next Generation

Project Audience

Title 1 middle schools, communities, schools within and outside of GA, educators, administrators

Subjects Addressed

Citizen Science projects, Girls for Science, after school STEM programs, rural and urban underserved


Project Description

Over 80% of jobs in the future will require skills in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Yet the U.S. is lagging far behind in training students who will pursue STEM careers, especially students who are minority, female, disadvantaged, or from rural/urban underserved populations. The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) is intended to develop innovative STEM programs to increase student excitement about STEM and eventually enter a STEM field.

Abstract

Specific Aims
The NIH R25 SEPA of Emory University is intended to: 1) support creative and innovative science education for K-12 students in research areas relevant to NIH’s mission; 2) promote biomedical scientific careers among K-12 students; 3) increase participation of individuals and groups under-represented in the biomedical sciences, including those from racial/ethnic minorities and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or underserved populations, including rural communities. To meet these goals, we propose a novel program termed Experiential Citizen Science Training for the Next Generation (ExCiTNG) , integrating culturally-relevant activities targeting low-income and under-represented student populations throughout the state of Georgia. This proposed program will combine: A) informal science education (after school STEM clubs and summer mentored science experiences) targeting Title I middle schools; B) statewide outreach programs, emphasizing urban underserved and rural communities, and C) teacher training to disseminate experiential, Citizen Science-based STEM education. The specific aims of this program are outlined below:

Aim 1) To implement a novel Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) informal curriculum built on Citizen Science concepts in order to support creative and innovative science education for K-12 students in research areas relevant to NIH’s mission, through Title I Georgia middle school-based After School STEM clubs.

1A) To evaluate the ExCiTNG initiative using metrics and tools intended to measure the effectiveness of Out-of-School Citizen Science-based programs.

  • Program Evaluation Metrics : Feasibility; Acceptability; Ability to replicate the program
  • Aim 1 Metrics : Knowledge, Engagement, Attitudes, Behavior, Skills, Qualitative Data from participants

Aim 2) To promote biomedical scientific careers among K-12 students targeting girls, racial/ethnic minorities, rural settings and other under-represented groups in Middle School, through the Girls for Science summer mentored research programs.

2A) To evaluate the impact of this program on proclivity to pursue science careers longitudinally over the project period.

  • Program Evaluation Metrics : Feasibility; Acceptability; Ability to replicate the program
  • Aim 2 Metrics: Attitudes, Behavior, Qualitative Data from participants

Aim 3) To train K-12 teachers in Citizen Science principles and application, using the ExCiTNG curriculum, recruiting teachers from Title I schools and schools serving racial/ethnic minorities and students from underserved populations.

3A) To evaluate the training effectiveness using short-term metrics.

  • Aim 3 Metrics: Teacher feedback and knowledge gained about teaching techniques after workshops

Aim 4) To disseminate the Citizen Science approach to science education through outreach efforts (Students For Science) and partnerships (Atlanta Science Festival) throughout the state of Georgia.

4A) To evaluate the effectiveness of outreach using short-term metrics.

  • Aim 4 Metrics: School participation in Citizen Science projects through the SEPA website; requests for S4S programs; and use of kits distributed via Atlanta Science Fair venue.