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
Expecting the Unexpected: Adventures in Critical Thinking

Expecting the Unexpected: Adventures in Critical Thinking

How do we know we can trust a source or a claim made by someone? What constitutes “good science”? Knowing the answers to these questions is an important critical thinking skill for all students and is even more important in this digital age where students are exposed to information from many different sources with varying degrees of accuracy and qualifications. Everyone, including your students, is constantly facing confusing news stories and conflicting data and evaluating these claims requires the ability to think critically about all the information being thrown at them. This lesson contains activities that you can do with your middle and high school students to teach them critical thinking skills such as the importance of attempting to disprove a hypothesis, using hypotheses to make testable predictions, and examining a recent case of “bad science” that has resulted in [...]

Farming for Ecosystem Services

Farming for Ecosystem Services

In this lesson students will explore the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, from basic ecological theory to their economic value. Provided with a short introduction to the types of ecosystem services and their importance, students will play a game where they must make decisions regarding how to invest a limited amount of money on their own for-profit farm—can they manage economic and ecological tradeoffs to design a productive farm that also enhances ecosystem services? At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Define “ecosystem services” and explain the difference between supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. Compare and contrast “ecosystem services” and “ecosystem function” and explain the importance of each Using evidence obtained from a classroom activity, explain the biodiversity-ecosystem function hypothesis Justify decision-making in a farming simulation as decisions relate to economic and ecological factors [...]

Seeing the forest from the trees

Seeing the forest from the trees

What controls the structure of forests and the leaves within that forest?  Individual leaves have very different shapes and even colors, but together they make up the forest canopy that traps light and water. This lesson aims to help students understand how the form of leaves and trees follows from the function of how plants use light and water. At the beginning of the class, instructors will lead a discussion on what trees need to grow. Students then will work individually on certain leaf types to understand how their shape influences their function; – this may involve collecting leaves, but also cutting out the shape of leaves or tracing the outline that the leaf shadow makes. Finally, students will see how the ways plants supply water to leaves interact with the capacity to capture light to influence leaf size. At [...]

Putting Down Roots: The Evolution of Plants from Water to Land

Putting Down Roots: The Evolution of Plants from Water to Land

Plants play a major role in the lives of other living things, especially humans.  But it’s worth taking a look at how plants as we know them came to be, and where they came from. What adaptations allowed the first plants to survive on land?  How are the crops that make their way to our dinner tables different from their aquatic ancestors?  In this lesson students will learn about the different adaptations that led to mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.  They will also have the opportunity to work hands-on with plant/algae samples to identify some of these adaptations and see where the samples fit along the evolutionary timeline. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Identify the four main groups of terrestrial plants and list their evolutionary order Describe the key adaptations that distinguish terrestrial plant [...]

Spring 2015 Workshop - Wednesday April 15th

Spring 2015 Workshop – Wednesday April 15th

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to our spring 2015 workshop, themed Inferring Function from Form. This will be the last workshop will a full set of GK-12 Fellow presentations (though neverfear, we will have many more workshops) so expect it to be grand! The workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 15. As usual, the schedule will run from 8 AM to 4 PM. Below you’ll find our daily agenda well as details on our plenary sessions and concurrent sessions. Check back often for updates. Please rsvp to Sarah at bodbyl@msu.edu if you plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you! Agenda (PDF) 8:00am – Welcome and Introductions 8:30-9:30am – Plenary: Dr. Ryan Bebej, Calvin College. Walking with whales: the origin and evolution of cetaceans. 9:45-11am –  Session 1: Fellow-led and special guest sessions 11:15am-12:30PM – Session 2: Teacher-led sessions 12:30-1:30PM [...]

Thornapple-Kellogg teacher recognized in book by former student

Thornapple-Kellogg teacher recognized in book by former student

K-12 Partnership teacher Jamie Bowman is named in a new book by a former student, who made a strong impression during her early education. The full article is below, taken from the Thornapple Kellogg Schools webpage (http://www.tkschools.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=454025&id=0): Amy Purdy, an actress, writer, inspirational speaker, and famed “Dancing with the Stars” competitor, wowed millions with her will and determination to compete even after having both legs amputated. In her new book, Purdy remembers one special teacher – Jamie Bowman – a TKMS teacher for 15 years. Thornapple Kellogg Middle School teacher Jamie Bowman has a new favorite book containing a very personal message. Bowman’s former student Amy Purdy acknowledges a special connection with her one-time elementary teacher in her new book “On My Own Two Feet: From losing my legs to learning the dance of life.” Bowman was in her first [...]

K-12 Partnership in the News - March edition

K-12 Partnership in the News – March edition

It’s been a busy spring for the partnership! Here are some of the most recent updates. Click on the photos for more information. 1. GK-12 project featured on the BEACON blog. 2. K-12 partnership and GK-12 teacher educator Liz Ratashak featured in the February MEA voice. 3. Former GK-12 Fellow Liz Schultheis receives the Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Award for Professional Development. Congratulations to Liz!   4. Fellows present the KBS GK-12 story at the MSU CREATE for STEM conference.  

Data Nugget manuscript published in ABT!

Data Nugget manuscript published in ABT!

The American Biology Teacher has recently published a Data Nuggets manuscript by former GK-12 Fellows Melissa Kjelvik and Liz Schulthuis! In case you’re curious what Data Nuggets are, here’s a quick excerpt from the paper: Data Nuggets (http://datanuggets.org) are free K–16 educational resources that bring data collected by scientists into the classroom, giving students the chance to work with data from cutting-edge research. They were designed in response to teacher requests for lessons that would help students meet quantitative learning goals. Data Nuggets are built from recent and ongoing research; each worksheet provides a brief background to a research topic, the researcher’s process as they developed their ideas, and a data set from their work. Students are challenged to answer a scientific question using the data set to support their claim and are guided through the construction of graphs o facilitate [...]

The Chi-square goodness of fit test: Application for testing genetic inheritance hypotheses

The Chi-square goodness of fit test: Application for testing genetic inheritance hypotheses

The Chi-square goodness of fit test can be used to test whether observed data are different from expected values based on a hypothesis.  This test and lesson is a good introduction to statistical analysis of biological data for high school students.  They will test their hypotheses with data and make scientifically rigorous conclusions. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Formulate a hypothesis to test. Calculate expected values to test based on their hypothesis. Calculate the Chi-square value using a Chi-square table. Find the probability range for their Chi-square value and decide to support or reject their hypothesis based on the probability range. The following resources are available for this lesson: Lesson plan Powerpoint Chi-square student packet Chi-square teacher packet Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill, 2014

Coevolving with Crossbills: A Tale of Two Pinecones

Coevolving with Crossbills: A Tale of Two Pinecones

Interactions between species can lead to coevolution. Even the interactions we observe in our own back yards, be they predator-prey interactions, species competition, or mutualism, can lead to two species reciprocally affecting each other’s evolution. In this lesson, students will learn about species interactions that lead to evolutionary arms races, using coevolution between crossbills, lodgepole pines, and red squirrels as an example. The lesson includes an activity to illustrate coevolution in action and a graphing activity. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Define coevolution Identify and explain the types of species interactions that lead to coevolution Produce frequency distribution graphs that display coevolution between two species over time The following resources are available for this lesson: Lesson plan Powerpoint Graphing activity worksheet  Graphing/data recording spreadsheet (.xlsx) Spreadsheet instructions  Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Brendan O’Neill, [...]