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
Food Web Control of Beneficial and Pest Species: Who Eats Who and Why Should We Care?

Food Web Control of Beneficial and Pest Species: Who Eats Who and Why Should We Care?

This lesson teaches the importance of understanding how the context of the entire food web can shape whether or not we find species in an ecosystem or not. Both the life requirements and controlling factors (abiotic & biotic) that combine to determine where species can live are discussed. Using two freshwater ponds, students will generate hypotheses about what they expect different food webs to look like and whether or not they will support focal species based on differences in environmental conditions. The biodiversity at multiple trophic levels and the water chemistry of the two ponds will be sampled by students to generate food webs and test the validity of their hypotheses. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Think critically about how species of interest are influenced by the community in which they are found. Construct [...]

Fun with plants: understanding the functions of mineral elements

Fun with plants: understanding the functions of mineral elements

The aim of this project is to help students to gain deeper understanding on how and why mineral elements are necessary for plants to grow. Plants will exhibit certain symptoms of nutrition deficiency when suffering from malnutrition, which can be best studied by a water culture (hydroponics) system.  This lesson starts with a brief introduction on what plant nutrition is and why fertilizer is important for plants. After the theory session, instructors and students will build seed starting and hydroponics experimental systems together. Different treatments, i.e. nutrient solutions that are absent of certain mineral elements, will be set up and students will be divided into small groups to observe how plants react and adjust under various environments. Students will spend time on 1) recording plant nutrient deficiency symptom; 2) maintaining hydroponics systems; 3) collecting plant morphological and physiological data. At [...]

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.