Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

BES Education - Teaching Ecology In and Of Schoolyards and Urban Ecosystems

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Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Alan Berkowitz
Bess Caplan

BES education initiatives infuse the teaching in and of schoolyards and urban ecosystems into the K-12 schools in Baltimore City and County. This poster will present results from both our education research and our major education programs.

BES education research is describing student proficiency and learning of key principles in environmental science, with an emphasis on applications ot real world phenomena in the local environment. We also are exploring the factors that support and constrain effective teaching.

BES education programs include a long-term professional development program for middle and high school environmental (and some social) science teachers, emphasizing ways to use schoolyards and data from BES and other local sources to foster environmental science literacy. We provide annual summer institutes, school year workshops, in-school support, curriculum materials and instructional supplies, all of which have proven to be valuable in supporting innovative ecology teaching. The Baltimore Data Jam, offered in 2014 and 2015, challenges teachers and students to discover interesting trends or comparisons in datasets fro Baltimore, and then present them in creative ways for a general audience. In addition to a high level of student engagement and positive responses amoung participating teachers, the Data Jams have helped create a teacher- and student-friendly collection of datasets - including some from well beyond BES's own work - for on-going use. FInally, in 2015 we launched the BES Young Enviornmental Scientists (BES-YES) program with 5 students from Baltimore City middle and high schools. The students spent five weeks pilot testing four citizen science projects, the best of which will continue to be used in BES in the future.