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Global Environmental Change and Local Ecosystems: A Kansas MSP-Start Project for P-20 Students

Overview:

This MSP-Start project on global environmental change and local ecosystems is working to enhance science education through the use of the Kansas Area Research and Education Site (KARES), which provides an outdoor learning forum for P-20 students in the Topeka Public school district. This project includes partners from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, USD 501 (Topeka public schools), community leaders, and state policy-makers. The long-term goal of the Start project is to develop a full MSP Targeted proposal for 2011. The short-term goals of this MSP-Start grant are:

  1. To analyze the efficacy of a state-wide collaborative model for improving science education in Kansas.

  2. To develop strong collaborative partnerships for meeting the long-term goal of a strong MSP proposal.

The Intellectual Merit of this MSP-Start grant is in promoting strong partnerships between public school teachers, university researchers, and government and community leaders and then using these partnerships to develop a world-class education project for students in P-20 that focuses on global environmental change and local ecosystems in Kansas. The leadership team believes it is critical that these students develop an awareness of environmental changes that are occurring on a global scale, as well as that they understand how these changes may influence the local ecosystems in which they live. Such concepts can most effectively be conveyed through inquiry-based learning methods, while simultaneously being age appropriate and meeting the Kansas Science Education Standards. The key school district, USD 501, is a minority-serving district, which commits to work with the university and the state to enhance science education in the state through the development and study of an outdoor learning center where students can engage in inquiry-based learning methods.