From July 11-15, 12 Florida middle school teachers came together to kick off our yearlong professional development program titled, “AI Learning in K-12 with Fossil Sharks.”
During this unique experience, teachers learned how to bridge the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and paleontology in their classrooms. Learn more in the video below and in this blog post.
To start off this first cohort, members attended a weeklong professional development workshop at the University of Florida’s main campus in Gainesville. During the workshop, participants learned how to use a branch of AI called “machine learning,” to teach computers how to use shape, color, and texture to identify the species of extinct shark teeth! Participants left the workshop with lesson plans that are sure to get their students excited while being exposed to STEM and computer science topics and work with cohort members and scientists throughout the year!
This is the first of three annual cohorts dedicated to the integration of and learning about AI and fossils. This project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Learn more about the project in our press release.
Tradewinds Middle School
Lake Weir Middle School
Marathon High School
Putnam County School District
Gamble Rogers Middle School
Boca Raton Community School
Fort McCoy School
Frostproof Middle Senior High School
Horace O’Bryant Middle School
Liberty Middle School
Tarpon Springs Middle School
Buddy Taylor Middle School
Cohort I Learning Goals and Benefits:
At the end of this yearlong program, participants gained the following:
- Hands-on participation in the development of customizable, standards-based lesson plans and interactive machine-learning models that will be available on the project’s website for any teacher to access for free.
- Learning standards covered include:
- SC.6.L.15.1: Organisms classified with shared characteristics (i.e. Linnaean system)
- SC.8.N.1.5: Methods used to develop scientific explanation
- SC.6.N.1.3: Experiment and other types of scientific investigation, benefits, and limitations of each
- SC.7.L.15.1: Fossil evidence & theory of evolution
- SC.68.CS-CP.1.2: Use of data collection technology, view, organize, analyze, and report results.
- SC.7.N.3.2: Identify the benefits and limitations of the use of scientific models.
- Learning standards covered include:
- A chance to network with university researchers and like-minded teachers across the state.
- A $2,500 stipend for successful completion of the program components.
- Ability to expose students to computer science and paleontology skill sets and career paths.
Cohort I Launch Workshop Components
- Introduction to paleontology as a multidisciplinary science for teaching integrated STEM+C and AI in K-12 education
- Introduction to hands-on activities with AI technologies for building, testing, and using machine learning models for scientific purposes.
- The pedagogical benefits of socio-scientific reasoning and problem-based learning in integrated STEM+C education
- Brainstorming and planning for lesson and activity ideas
Cohort I/PD Expectations
In order to receive the $2,500 stipend, participants must attend all cohort activities, including:
- Attend the entire workshop launch and other required cohort sessions thereafter.
- Successfully complete and implement in your classroom a lesson of your own that was developed during the workshop during the 2022-2023 school year.
- Implement multiple lessons developed during the PD and other related cohort activities.
- Complete regular check-ins with the project team and cohort after the workshop has concluded throughout the year.
- Schedule a visit with a scientist to your classroom via the Scientist in Every Florida School Program during the 2022-2023 school year.
- Following standard policies and procedures, participate in and complete any evaluations, assessments, and surveys required as part of the program.
- Bruce MacFadden, TESI Director and Distinguished Professor, Florida Museum of Natural History
- Pasha Antonenko, Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, UF College of Education
- Jeremy Waisome, Instructional Assistant Professor, UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
- Victor Perez, Assistant Curator of Paleontology, Calvert Marine Museum
- Stephanie Killingsworth, K-12 Education and Outreach Coordinator, Scientist in Every Florida School
- Brian Abramowitz, K-12 Education and Outreach Coordinator, Scientist in Every Florida School
Sadie Mills, TESI Program Coordinator
Alise Cross, TESI Education and Communications Assistant
Cohort II of the SEFS "Shark AI" Professional Development Workshop takes a deep dive into fossil sharks and artificial intelligence.
AI in the Classroom: Scientist in Every Florida School Program Helps Middle School Teachers Use Fossil Sharks to Teach Machine Learning
The yearlong professional development program equips teachers with the tools to introduce students to AI and inspire STEM careers.
Teachers say these kinds of experiences help them revitalize, bring new knowledge into the classroom, and expand their teaching repertoire.