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K-State Today

March 4, 2015



EIDRoP research program proves to be a success

By Patrice Scott

EIDRoP program participants

A National Science Foundation grant program, called GK-12, designed to help scientists improve their communication skills achieved a great deal more than its original purpose according to those who participated in the six-year program.

The Evidence-based Inference into the Distant, Remote or Past, or EIDRoP, program placed guest scientists who were K-State graduate students in high school science classrooms.

The program was a collaborative effort among the K-State College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School and Geary County Schools USD 475.

Jackie Spears, professor of curriculum and instruction and director of the College of Education's Center for Science Education, said that the program renewed the passion teachers felt for science, gave guest scientists the opportunity to engage high school students in research, and invited students to become discoverers versus simply consumers of research.

"Students will listen to people closer to their age than us," Spears said. "The abstract becomes concrete when messages are delivered by younger people. This program struck a nice balance in linking schools to the university."

Rebecca Steiger, Junction City High School biology teacher, had resident scientists in her classes for all six years of the program's existence.

"We have gained so much through the research," Steiger said. "I thought this would be great for the students. I had no idea how much I would get out it. The GK-12 program was invaluable to us as teachers."

Following the program, attendees visited with the guest scientists and reviewed their posters.

In addition to Spears and Steiger, those who spoke at the program were: Carolyn Ferguson, program director and associate professor of biology; Carol Shanklin, dean of the graduate school; Carol Arjona, director of secondary education at Geary County Schools USD 475; Scott Tanona, associate professor of philosophy; Julie Commerford, GK-12 geography fellow; Kim O'Keefe, GK-12 biology fellow; Matt Brueseke, associate professor of geology; Ted Morgan, associate professor of biology. Teresa Woods served as program manager. For more information, Geary County Schools USD 475 produced a short video about the EIDRoP program.