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
Fellow Bonnie McGill receives new ESPP Service Award

Fellow Bonnie McGill receives new ESPP Service Award

GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill was presented with a brand new award last Tuesday, November 18, at a town hall meeting of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at MSU. ESPP director Jinhua Zhou presented Bonnie with the ESPP Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her attendance and participation in ESPP seminars and research symposiums over the last two years and her contributions to the program through volunteering to help at events and serving on the research colloquia planning committee.  Bonnie is the first person to receive this new award. Congratulations, Bonnie!

Fellow publishes inquiry lesson in ABT

Fellow publishes inquiry lesson in ABT

Former GK-12 Fellow Tomomi Suwa recently published an inquiry lesson she developed addressing rhizobia-legume mutualisms! The lesson is based on Tomomi’s graduate research and was originally developed for and presented at K-12 partnership workshops. The publication arose from a collaborative effort with visiting scholar and co-author, Brad Williamson, from the University of Kansas. Congratulations, Tomomi and Brad! Click on the image to read Tomomi’s contribution to the literature.  

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:  Session 1:  9:45am Effective “talk moves” for helping students explain their ideas: Findings from our analysis of interviews. With Hannah Miller, Wendy Johnson, & Andy Anderson, Terrace Room, All Levels. As part of the Carbon TIME research in 2012-3 we asked each teacher to interview two students because we wanted to identify the range [...]

Fellow Bonnie McGill presents at ESPP symposium

Fellow Bonnie McGill presents at ESPP symposium

GK-12 Fellow Bonnie McGill (Plainwell partnership) recently presented a poster at the 2014 MSU Environmental Science and Policy Program’s annual research symposium. The ESPP program is a campus-wide degree specialization program that facilitates interdisciplinary environmental research at MSU. This year’s symposium theme was Environmental Risk and Decision Making, which is a topic tailor-made for Bonnie’s research on how human activities, specifically agricultural management, influence ecosystem functioning. Bonnie’s conference contribution was titled “Coupling biogeochemistry and sociology to understand groundwater use and inorganic carbon flux in southwest Michigan corn fields“. If you see Bonnie, ask her about her research, and congratulate her on a great conference presentation!    

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!