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
Royer and Schultheis publish BoxCar2D lesson in ABT journal

Royer and Schultheis publish BoxCar2D lesson in ABT journal

GK-12 Fellows Anne Royer and Liz Schultheis published a paper in the April issue of American Biology Teacher on the use of the evolution simulation software, BoxCar2D, in the classroom. Many of you will recognize the activity from previous K-12 workshops, where Anne and Liz refined the lesson and received helpful feedback from partnership teachers. Congratulations to Anne and Liz! Royer, A. M. and E. H. Schultheis. 2014. Evolving better cars: Teaching evolution by natural selection with a digital inquiry activity. The American Biology Teacher. 76(4):259-264 For a PDF copy of the manuscript, please email GK-12 leadership at kbsgk12project@kbs.msu.edu    

April 23, 2014 Workshop - STEM: Environmental Engineering for Sustainability

April 23, 2014 Workshop – STEM: Environmental Engineering for Sustainability

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to: STEM: Environmental Engineering for Sustainability Wednesday, April 23 from 8 AM to 4 PM. Below you’ll find our agenda for the day as well as details on our 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! Agenda 8:00 AM Breakfast, Announcements, and Introductions 8:30 AM Speaker: Dawn Reinhold (Assistant Professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at MSU) – Auditorium 9:30 AM Concurrent Session Teasers 9:45 AM Concurrent Session 1 MS/HS: Bread Making as Biological Engineering (Kolonich, Lee, Doherty and Anderson) Terrace Room EL (elem): Bringing Biology to Urban Design: All aboard the Poop Train! (Jake Nalley and Sara Garnett) Stack 140 MS/HS: The Pig Bang Theory: The Implications of Ignoring Evolution (Amanda Charbonneau [...]

MSU Grad. at a Glance profiles Krieg

MSU Grad. at a Glance profiles Krieg

The research of GK-12 Fellow Cara Krieg was recently featured in Grad. at a Glance, part of MSU Today. Read the article HERE and be sure to congratulate Cara on her accomplishments if you see her!

Russ Stolberg awarded Calhoun Conservation District Educator of the Year Award

Russ Stolberg awarded Calhoun Conservation District Educator of the Year Award

On February 27th, Russ Stolberg, a GK-12 partner teacher from Olivet Middle School, was awarded the 2013 Educator of the Year award from the Calhoun Conservation District at their annual meeting held at FireKeeper’s Casino Hotel. This past year, Russ partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to bring the “Salmon in the Classroom” program in his 8th grade Earth Science classes where students helped rear almost 100 King salmon throughout the school year. This project culminated in a student led fish release into the Red Cedar at Michigan State University where Michigan DNR and MSU Fisheries and Wildlife representatives spoke with students about what life after release would be like for the salmon, including discussing river ecology and identifying aquatic invertebrates. Russ also has a strong partnership with the Calhoun Conservation District, this year they provided the 8th [...]

What’s in My Backyard? Identifying Winter Birds in Michigan

What’s in My Backyard? Identifying Winter Birds in Michigan

Although winter may seem like a life-less frozen wasteland here in Michigan, many birds spend the winter here.  Some arctic birds even come down to Michigan to escape the cold!  Many of these winter birds can be easily attracted to backyard feeders, particularly since food is in short supply.  In this lesson students will learn how to identify the 16 most common feeder birds in Michigan and will be introduced to 8 other less common species.  Students will learn how scientists classify and identify species.  This lesson also provides materials necessary for students to collect data from their own bird feeder and tools to contribute their data to citizen science efforts like the Great Backyard Bird Count or Cornell’s eBird tracking program that help scientists monitor bird populations across the United States. Objectives At the conclusion of the lesson, students [...]

Winter is for the Birds!

Winter is for the Birds!

Students in Comstock have been having some strange encounters of the feathered kind.  Fifth graders at the STEM Academy have been learning about the kinds of birds that will visit winter feeders.  Although the world might seem like a harsh polar-vortex tundra this time of year, many native birds stay here in Michigan.  Some arctic birds even migrate down to Michigan for the winter to escape the cold temperatures!  GK-12 fellow Cara Krieg taught Mrs. Grintal’s students how to identify the different Michigan birds common at this time of year.  The class was so excited about this lesson that they were identifying birds outside the classroom window the next day.  Students will use the skills they practiced in this lesson to count birds at a feeder outside of their classroom.  The data they collect will contribute to citizen science efforts [...]

Sex Changes, Drugs, and Rockin’ Dead Zones: A trifecta of lessons

Sex Changes, Drugs, and Rockin’ Dead Zones: A trifecta of lessons

This lesson consists of 3 activities, all interrelated yet can be split into individual lessons as well. The overall theme of the lessons are to investigate the effect human introduced contaminants into aquatic systems have on individual organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems. We will investigate how farming in the “Bread Basket” of America can contribute to a growing “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and then create our own dead zones in lab. Students can then become a participant in the formation of dead zones in an interactive simulation/game. The final component of the lesson focuses on investigating the effect a novel (or never before seen) contaminant has on vulnerable frog populations. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Describe how a dead zone occurs – from the human sources of pollution to how it [...]

Where the Wild Things Are: How Rainfall Drives Food Web Interactions

Where the Wild Things Are: How Rainfall Drives Food Web Interactions

Every organism, large and small, is affected by weather.  Some organisms like plants are affected directly by rainfall.  Others are impacted through their food chain relationships.  In the hot-dry tropics found in some parts of Africa, seasonal patterns of rainfall drive one of the most impressive animal migrations in the world.  This activity uses the great African migration to review the water cycle and emphasize how food webs are strongly impacted by rainfall patterns through a hands-on activity.  The food web portion of this exercise can be used independently as a hands-on alternative to pen-and-paper models to review food webs, food web vocabulary, or the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems.  The food web exercise also contains additional scenarios that explore: 1. The importance of taking food webs and animal behavior into account when planning wildlife reserves, 2. How human-animal conflicts [...]

Wetlands: Not just a swampy place

Wetlands: Not just a swampy place

Wetlands are a ubiquitous part of the southwestern Michigan landscape and provide numerous important ecological services.  Wetlands allow water to slowly filter into the ground, which cleans water, provides a buffer against flooding, and re-charges groundwater supplies. They also provide habitat for many animal and plant species. Wetlands provide an opportunity for students to explore parts of the water cycle, food webs, and many other ecological processes. In this lesson, students learn about different types of wetlands and how they work through a series of presentations, games, and hands-on activities. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Understand how wetlands affect water, wildlife, and ecological processes Understand how wetlands help prevent pollution and erosion Recognize that wetlands are complex systems that support many different forms of life, from top-predators to microscopic organisms The following resources are [...]

Chi-Square tests: When and how to use

Chi-Square tests: When and how to use

Researchers often need to decide if the results they observe in an experiment are close enough to predicted theoretical results so that the tested hypothesis can be supported or rejected. For example, do a series of coin flips match what you’d expect to get by chance, or is their evidence the coin is unfair? Does the number of women interviewed for a job position match the proportion of women in the applicant pool, or is there evidence of bias? Does the number of white-eyed fruit fly offspring match the number expected if the white-eyed trait is recessive, or are white-eyes inherited in some other way? In this lesson, students will: Learn when it is appropriate to use a chi-square goodness-of-fit test Learn how to use a chi-square test, interpret results, and create evidence based conclusions Practice using a chi-square test [...]