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
Fall Workshop - Wednesday November 12: Co-evolution and Cross-cutting Concepts

Fall Workshop – Wednesday November 12: Co-evolution and Cross-cutting Concepts

The KBS K-12 partnership cordially invites you to our fall 2014 workshop! The theme is Co-evolution and Cross-cutting Concepts and will be held on Wednesday, November 12. As usual, the schedule will run from 8 AM to 4 PM. Below you’ll find our daily agenda (pending) 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! *Agenda Drafts (click to view): Concurrent Session Abstracts: TBA Participant List: Email Sarah Bodbyl (bodbyl@msu.edu) if you would like to be added to this list. Comstock/STEM: Elizabeth (Emmy) Kimmer, Shirley Gilland, Mary Grintals, Canaan Groff Delton-Kellogg: Galesburg-Augusta: Mary Sutter Gobles: Becky Drayton Gull Lake: Kari Freling, Laurie Klock, Ashley Carroll, Michelle Mahar, Beth Keller, Matt Hawkins, Blair Rogers, Beth Rhodes, Jennifer Boyle Harper Creek: [...]

Plainwell Middle STEM academy visits Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Plainwell Middle STEM academy visits Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

On October 2, over 90 students from Plainwell middle school’s STEM academy visited the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education. K-12 partnership and STEM teachers Lisa Wininger, Heather Damick, and Momoko Montgomery teamed up with GK-12 Fellows Di Liang and Bonnie McGill, plus PCCI educator director (and former KBS K-12 partnership coordinator) Sara Syswerda to lead students through activities on PCCI grounds. Students were split into three groups and rotated through three activities: water sampling, macroinvertebrate sampling, and a geology hike. During the water sampling activity, students were trotted down to the beautiful Cedar Creek and were guided through sampling of water temperature, flow rate, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Leader Sara S. engaged the students with lots of questions and hypothesis formation on how the creek’s abiotic factors contributed to the diversity of animals that could be found there. On [...]

Fellows give research overviews at the LTER/GLBRC Field Tour for Investigators

Fellows give research overviews at the LTER/GLBRC Field Tour for Investigators

On Friday September 19, KBS welcomed new faculty and other interested researchers with the annual LTER/GLBRC Field Tour. The tour highlighted current agriculture-based research undertaken on KBS grounds and opportunities available for new researchers. GK-12 Fellows Di Liang, Bonnie McGill, and Brendan O’Neill helped plan the event, showcased their research with the LTER and GLBRC cropping systems, and entertained attendees with ‘PI trivia’ at the dinner following the tour.

Fellows share the KBS GK-12 story at 2014 Ecological Society of America meeting

Fellows share the KBS GK-12 story at 2014 Ecological Society of America meeting

On Tuesday August 12, GK-12 Fellows Dani Fegan and Jake Nalley presented at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Sacramento, California. Their talk was titled:  KBS GK-12 BioEnergy SusTainability (BEST) Project: Using schoolyard research plots to grow ecological and energy literacies (abstract here) and was included in a special organized session: Achieving Energy and Ecological Literacies for All: Towards Best Practices in Science Education and Outreach at the Interface. The talk highlighted the initial and realized project goals, the BEST plots, challenges, success-stories, and some of the amazing products that have been developed by participating Fellows (e.g. classroom-ready lesson plans and Data Nuggets). Despite an initial technology failure during the talk, the presenters used their hard-won GK-12 presentation-skill-mastery to give a brilliant team talk, receiving some rave reviews! Jake and Dani also handed out GK-12 lesson plans and newsletters to interested attendees of a materials ‘Share-fair’ [...]

Fellow Jake Nalley Featured at BEACON's Researchers at Work

Fellow Jake Nalley Featured at BEACON’s Researchers at Work

Former GK-12 Fellow Jake Nalley is featured in this week’s BEACON Researchers at Work. Jake, lab-mate Danny O’Donnell, and REU undergraduate Farhana Haque blog about their summer research projects  on how phytoplankton  may respond to global climate change. Check out the article on the BEACON website HERE. If you’re interested in learning more about Jake’s work, check out his website and some of his GK-12 lessons for K-12 classrooms available here, here, and here.

Decomposition: The Ultimate Disappearing Act!

Decomposition: The Ultimate Disappearing Act!

Decomposition is a complex process happening all around us.  The goal is to identify where decomposition is happening (in the fridge in the forest), examine important factors – biological, chemical and physical, and used an inquiry-based approach for students to set up their own experiments At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to: Understand the concepts involved in decomposition – physical, chemical and biological. Connect these concepts with their everyday experiences and knowledge and relate them to models of food webs and carbon cycling. Use concepts to construct a decomposition experiment that unites the above concepts. Materials for this lesson include: Lesson plan Powerpoint Worksheet Excel template (and example) for graphing Teacher activity guide  Lesson plan created by fellow Brendan O’Neill and partner-teachers Jodie Lugar-McManus and Jennifer Boyle, 2014

Fellow receives SARE grant

Current GK-12 Fellow Brendan O’Neill has received a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant for research investigating soil health in agricultural systems. Agricultural management typically utilizes basic soil testing to inform management – helping farmers decide when and how much fertilizer or pesticides to apply to their fields. The SARE grant will allow O’Neill and other MSU researchers to complement traditional soil testing in local area farms with new tests gauging soil health through physical, chemical, and biological assays. O’Neill is interested in how new soil health testing results may be useful to and influence farmer management decision making and hopes that the new information will improve agricultural sustainability practices. Congratulations to Brendan on this achievement!    

Fellow Tyler Bassett featured in KBS newsletter

Fellow Tyler Bassett featured in KBS newsletter

Former GK-12 Fellow Tyler Bassett’s research on prairie restorations was recently featured in the August edition of the KBS e-Station to Station newsletter. Check out the short article HERE, as well as other news and events currently happening at KBS.  

Does Size Matter? Investigating the Physical Properties of Soil and their Effects on Plants

Does Size Matter? Investigating the Physical Properties of Soil and their Effects on Plants

Soil properties can often dictate the types of plants that can live in a particular habitat. The composition of soil affects everything from the amount of water available, to the types of nutrients and minerals present, to a plant’s root structure and growth. This lesson will focus its investigation on the particle sizes of various soil types. During this lesson, participants will look at sand, silt, and clay particles under a microscope and use this information to estimate the proportion of these components within various soil samples they have collected. They will also test the permeability of their soil and relate this to its makeup and particle size. Finally, plant adaptations to live in various soil types will be discussed, and a case study will incorporate data interpretation from a plant species that is adapted to live on a unique [...]

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 [...]