Colorado State University

Implementing a Junior Fellows Program:

Translating interdisciplinary research to the classroom

NSF GK-12 Annual Meeting, March 12, 2011

Steve Benoit, Zach Cashero, Michael A. de Miranda
Colorado State University

Dan Wagner
University High School

Kate McDonnell
Highland High School

The Colorado State University GK-12 team is translating an active biosensor research program into the K-12 classroom and bringing real interdisciplinary science and engineering to students. The program engages high school students in biomedical science and engineering, emulating at a macroscopic scale what CSU fellows are researching at a microscopic scale.

Three High Schools took part, where teams of students were given an open-ended question and design problem, "What motivates a biological organism to move?", paralleling CSU's biosensor research in cell migration. High school students were challenged to design a device capable of tracking movements and stimulus responses of ants.

CSU fellows co-created with their K-12 teachers, four "essential lessons" relating to scientific discovery, which gave students the skills needed to design an experiment. Student leaders, or "Junior Fellows", were selected through a competitive application process. Student teams, under the guidance of the fellow and leadership of the Junior Fellows, wrote formal proposals for experiments and presented them for approval. Groups then engineered their experiments and data collection systems, performed experiments, analyzed the data, and presented the results in written, verbal, and poster form. Throughout, CSU fellows highlighted parallels between student experiences and those of the CSU biosensor research team.

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This program is based upon collaborative work supported by a National Science Foundation Grant No. 0841259; Colorado State University, Thomas Chen, Principal Investigator, Michael A. de Miranda and Stuart Tobet Co-Principal Investigators. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.