August 27th and 28th marked the Kick-Off of the Oregon Coast Aquatic and Marine Science Partnership Project, a $300,000 per year/3 year Math-Science Partnership grant. The Oregon Department of Education manages the MSP competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education, and last May, LCSD and its partners were the only one of 20 applicants selected for the 2009-2012 period. The project is a collaboration of Lincoln County School District and scientists, informal science educators and science education faculty at several academic, non-profit and government science institutions to develop, implement, and evaluate teacher professional development and student learning experiences with a focus on Ocean Literacy and Aquatic and Marine Science.
Keynote speaker Dr. Judith Li, noted stream ecologist, addressed the 32 participating teachers and 12 project personnel at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center.
Discussing recent river and stream research findings and techniques, she provided examples of how teachers can use the natural environment to give students authentic science inquiry experiences and integrate other subjects.
Dr. David Noakes, OSU Senior Scientist at the OHRC and Primary Investigator for the grant, explained the workings and purpose of the Research Center and gave a guided tour, detailing the many current research projects by scientists and graduate students.
Dr. Shawn Rowe, Co-PI and OSU Assistant Professor of Science Education, gave participants an overview of the research aspects of the grant. Dr. Rowe will investigate how participation in Professional Learning Communities and mentored field experiences, as compared to stand alone seminars and workshops, impacts student achievement and teachers' classroom practice.
The Kick-Off continued on Friday at the Interpretive Center at the BLM Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Time was dedicated to discourse, guided by Dr. Rowe and including Superintendent Tom Rinearson, focused on strategies for integrating math and literacy with science. Dr. Rowe also presented current research on Learning in Informal and Formal Settings from the National Academies of Science, and shared his own research at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.Jim Rice, Stranding Coordinator for the Marine Mammal Institute presented his work and Institute research, while marine educator Vicki Osis provided valuable information and insights about tidal ecosystems and bringing students for field experiences in these areas. Concluding activities were coordinated at YHONA by Education Coordinator Roy Simpson and gave teachers time to design another inquiry for students using the YHONA site.
Capping off the two day event, teachers were invited to board the research vessel R/V New Horizon, in port at the HMSC dock. Dr. Tawnya Peterson, Oregon Health and Sciences University and Co-PI, was about to depart on the ship as Chief Scientist, and guided participants through the research and data collection equipment onboard. Finally, Tracy Crews, Marine Education Specialist and project personnel at HMSC, arranged a tour of the MBARI, a state of the art research vessel that contains a new ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) from the Monterey Bay Research Institute.