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 Tuesday, June 26, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Science Discovery Program on track to a promising future
Dana Silva, sophomore, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Science Discovery Program has been bringing science alive for thousands of K-12 students and teachers since 1983. Now, with a new director and development board, the program will continue to spread its wings across the state and reach a greater number of people.

As part of the School of Education, the program's fundamental goal is to arouse an interest in and understanding of science among diverse groups of children and teachers.

"We hope to share the university's science resources throughout the state to include a larger audience," said Jeffrey Kidder, director of Science Discovery. "We want to address diversity and serve the children who usually don't get an opportunity to participate in these type of activities."

Through five core programs, Science Discovery is able to share and receive knowledge among faculty and students.

The Class Program works to instill in its students an excitement for science through hands-on discovery and experiential learning. The classes share the human and physical resources of the university with K-12 students and are often taught by graduate students and faculty.

The Wilderness Camp Program provides science education in the context of outdoor recreation. The program offers adventures such as mountain biking in Utah, rafting in Colorado and New Mexico, and observing the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.

Science Explorers, a teacher professional development program, involves teams of one teacher and five students participating in an activity-based science workshop. The teams rotate through three interactive curricula built around an integrative theme.

"Teachers and their students come back year after year for Science Explorers," said Ellen Brock, associate director of Science Discovery. "It's extremely popular."

Science from CU delivers statewide, interactive one-hour classroom presentations created in conjunction with faculty and graduate students. The presentations enhance basic science knowledge and highlight faculty research.

The Outdoor Classroom provides environmental education through a series of classroom and field activities for students and their teachers. The program focuses on upper-elementary classrooms in schools with a high percentage of economically and socially disadvantaged students. The program consists of multiple classroom visits from Science Discovery instructors and outdoor activities, such as studying winter ecology while on snowshoes, and often culminates in an overnight field trip.

Future plans for the program include increased collaboration with campus science departments.

"Science Discovery is hoping to become more integrated in the sciences at CU," Kidder said. "In this way it gives an opportunity for graduate students and faculty to share their knowledge with the K-12 community."

Also, the program wants to install a scholarship system to support children who can't afford the expenses.

"We want to help children who for various reasons can't afford the program so we can involve more people and share the wealth of science," Kidder said.

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