What promises to be something of a game changer in K-12 science classrooms; the Scientist in Every Florida School initiative held the first of many professional development workshops for Florida teachers in July. The workshop, hosted by the Florida Museum of Natural History on UF’s Main Campus, highlighted Florida’s connection to the biosphere. In order to dig deep into this connection, participating labs on the University of Florida campus carefully wrote out bios that described their lab research. Teachers were then able to narrow down a lab of interest after reading through the bios and touring the labs. Together, the teacher and scientist teams spent the week working in the respective labs and collaborating on how teachers could best connect the research experience to the Florida standards they teach in the classroom.
The teams have integrated activities and lesson ideas for the upcoming school year as a result. What’s most exciting to the teachers is knowing that their scientist will be involved in their classrooms as a result.
Many will make in person visits, while others will utilize digital technology platforms to communicate with students virtually. In addition to gaining authentic research experience throughout the week, teachers also heard from several keynote speakers and presenters about various biosphere related topics.
They left with a database of teacher and classroom tools, current science as it relates to Florida’s biosphere, a trip through Florida’s wetlands at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, and most importantly, a network and family of scientists in their educational toolbox.