Kellogg Biological Station’s GK-12 Program

 

What is the KBS GK-12 Program? In 2010, KBS representatives Getty, Anderson, Gross, Lau, Robertson, and Tinghitella were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a new GK-12 (Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education) Program called the KBS GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project. You can find a slideshow overview and introduction to our project here and a summary here. This program is part of a national network of GK-12 sites funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the common goal of providing science graduate students with skills that will broadly prepare them for their future careers, particularly communicating science with varied audiences. Through interactions with teachers and students in K-12 schools, graduate students are expected to improve communication and teaching skills while enriching science instruction in K-12 schools. For more information about the GK-12 program and links to GK-12 projects in other states, visit the National GK-12 website.

Tomomi and students in a BEST plot, 2012 Our GK-12 project has partnered with fifteen rural school districts in SW Michigan, all of whom are part of the ongoing K-12 Partnership at Kellogg Biological Station. In fall of 2010 we established a network of schoolyard research plots (see the BEST Research Network tab) at 22 schools in these 15 districts. The plots mimic those used at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center to conduct experiments testing the sustainability of bioenergy crops like switchgrass and native prairie. Students and teachers at our partner schools are asking the question “Can we grow our fuel and our flowers and butterflies too?

Please contact program director Tom Getty (getty@msu.edu) or program manager Sarah Bodbyl (bodbyl@msu.edu) for more information on the KBS GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project.

Important Articles about the KBS GK-12 Bioenergy Research Project
When mountains disappear where do they go? Inorganic carbon cycling in your belly and our ecosystems

When mountains disappear where do they go? Inorganic carbon cycling in your belly and our ecosystems

In this lesson, students will learn about the “other” carbon, that is, inorganic carbon and how it is important for understanding how mountains erode over millennia, how farmers utilize it to maintain soil health, and its role in the carbon cycle. This lesson will introduce students to the scale at which ecosystem ecology works. A small lab activity demonstrates the chemical reaction at the heart of this lesson (involving TUMS, hence “inorganic carbon cycling in your belly”). The lesson involves working with a scientific journal article and data from it. The journal article illustrates how scientists quantify how humans affect the ecosystem, more specifically, how the inorganic carbon in the river water tells a story about how humans use the land. Together, we walk through a series of graphs from the paper to arrive at conclusions by synthesizing information from [...]

Running the Gauntlet: Finding the Least-Cost Path

Running the Gauntlet: Finding the Least-Cost Path

Animals move across the landscape for many reasons – such as migration, dispersal, or simply to find enough food. These movements often force animals to move through less-than-ideal habitat where they’re more exposed to predators or dangers associated with human activity (think of a deer moving out of a forest to cross a highway). Because not all habitats making up a landscape are the same, there are often more- and less-costly paths an animal can take as it moves from one point to another.  In this lesson students will explore the costs of moving across a complex landscape.  The students’ goal is to find the least-cost (i.e. safest) path for a particular animal given knowledge of that animal’s habitat needs and preferences and the dangers associated with different habitats. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: [...]

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Species Interactions

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Species Interactions

Interactions are a way of life. All organisms interact with many other organisms on a daily basis. Some of these interactions are positive, benefitting all organisms involved. Some of these interactions are negative, which may cause harm. Plants, animals and all other living things interact, and these many interactions are readily observable in our own backyards. In this activity we will explore these interactions and predict how they will help or harm species when their environment changes (biotic or abiotic changes). At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Identify interactions between different species (observation) Name and describe the different types of species interactions Recognize that species may develop more than one relationship Predict the impact of environmental changes (biotic or abiotic) on the relationship or individual organism The following resources are available for this lesson: Lesson [...]

Fellow Amanda Charbonneau featured on BEACON website

Fellow Amanda Charbonneau featured on BEACON website

Check out GK-12 Fellow Amanda Charbonneau’s research on invasive species this week at the BEACON blog: http://beacon-center.org/blog/2014/06/16/beacon-researchers-at-work-what-makes-invasive-species-successful/  

Comstock and GK-12 partner to participate in NestWatch

Comstock and GK-12 partner to participate in NestWatch

GK-12 Fellow and ornithologist Cara Krieg and Comstock STEM academy teacher Mary Grintals worked together to get STEM academy students outside and directly observing and recording bird nesting behavior! In April, Cara Krieg donated 10 cedar bird nestboxes to the STEM academy and helped the students site and install them in good locations to attract birds. Cara researches house wrens at Lux Arbor Reserve, a research property managed by the Kellogg Biological Station. Her research includes maintaining a vast network of nest boxes for the wrens so she was able to give the Comstock students some very practical advice to assist with their nest monitoring experience. Mary Grintals recruited her 5th grade students to participate in a nationwide, citizen science nest monitoring program run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, called Nest Watch. The students learned where birds nest (other [...]

Plenary speakers at the K-12 Partnership Summer Institute

Plenary speakers at the K-12 Partnership Summer Institute

The 2014 KBS K-12 Partnership, sponsored by the NSF GK-12 and KBS LTER, invites you to join us for our morning plenary research talks at the Summer Institute. Events will run from Monday June 23 – Wednesday June 25. Plenary talks will be in the KBS Auditorium from 8:30 – 9:30 AM each day. Monday June 23, 8:30-9:30 AM Dr. Jason Gallant MSU Zoology Talk Title: Shocking tails from around the world: electric fish in the genomics era Brief excerpt from online bio: I completed my postdoctoral research in July, 2013 working in the evolutionary genetics laboratory of Sean Mullen at Boston University, where I studied the genetic basis of mimetic wing patterns in Limenitis and Heliconius butterflies.  I received my Ph.D. in July 2011, working with Carl Hopkins and David Deitcher at Cornell University.  Here, I studied the evolution of signal form and electric organ morphology among the Mormyrid electric [...]

2014 Summer Institute - June 23-25

2014 Summer Institute – June 23-25

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to the 2014 Summer Institute! Mark your calendars for this three day event, from Monday June 23 through Wednesday June 25. The schedule will run from 8 AM to 4 PM each day. Below you’ll find our daily agendas well as details on our plenary sessions and concurrent sessions. Events will continue to update as we develop content. Please rsvp to Sarah at bodbyl@msu.edu if you plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you! ***Please note: This year we will be capping a $75/day stipend for teacher attendees to the first 60 with an rsvp.*** Agenda Drafts (click to view): Agenda -DAY 1  Agenda -DAY 2 Agenda -DAY 3 Concurrent Session Abstracts: Cosmos, Part Deux!! With Lisa Wininger, Stack 145, EL/MS, Monday at 1 PM In this session, elementary and middle school teachers will learn about [...]

GK-12 Fellows receive spring awards

Congratulations to former GK-12 fellows Cara Krieg, Melissa Kjelvik, and Liz Schultheis for receiving awards to further their research. Cara Krieg received the 2014 George J. Wallace and Martha C. Wallace award, supporting ornithological research, from the Zoology department. Cara’s research focuses on unexpected behaviors observed in female house wrens, specifically female-female aggression and female song. Follow along with Cara’s research at her summer blog.  Melissa Kjelvik and Liz Schultheis were awarded a grant from NIMBIOS – the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (http://www.nimbios.org/). The grant funds will be used to continue to develop and evaluate an exciting educational tool they developed while in the GK-12 program, called Data Nuggets. Check out the Data Nugget website.        

Gull Lake students learn about native plants

Gull Lake students learn about native plants

In mid-May, Gull Lake 8th graders learned about landscaping with native plants with the help of fellows Tyler Bassett and Brendan O’Neill. Friday, May 16 was cool and a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop Jamie Bowman’s 8th grade class from planting nearly 300 native plugs at the Gull Lake Middle school. Tyler and Brendan took turns helping the students settle the plants and teach them about some of the benefits of native plant landscaping, including: improved wildlife habitat, erosion and run-off control, and reduced water use.  Ms. Bowman hopes plans to use the newly planted area in future years as an extension of the BEST plots and the Gull Lake Outdoor Classroom, which includes lake access and a greenhouse. Students have used the outdoor classroom to sample lake water for water quality analyses, learn about aquatic  invertebrate life, and [...]

Bringing Biology to Urban Design: All Aboard the Poop Train!

Bringing Biology to Urban Design: All Aboard the Poop Train!

There has been a significant shift in human populations toward urban areas, which in conjunction with the growing global population has increased the demand for resources like food and energy. In order to satisfy these demands, we must find ways to produce food and energy more sustainably and increase our energy efficiency. Some of the ways we try to accomplish these goals involve taking inspiration from biological systems. This two-part lesson will outline many of the ways that we have applied what we know about nature to make urban systems more sustainable, build in ways that reduce energy demand or increase efficiency, and manage our waste more effectively. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Explain why there is an increasing demand for resources in urban areas Explain biologically-inspired strategies for providing food sustainably Explain how [...]