Purpose of Project
This project provides training for high school science teachers emphasizing the use of ecological models and authentic field research skills to convey rich ecological knowledge. Immersion in challenging, real-world, inquiry-based ecology research combined with use of conceptual ecosystem modeling helps teachers to better comprehend ecological concepts, the authentic research process and important aspects of ecological complexity. We provide science teacher training and inquiry-based supporting material, available on this website, to instill confidence and motivation to implement authentic field research ecology projects in their classrooms.
We help facilitate partnerships with local nature centers for meaningful classroom field work. Situating the inquiry-based ecology field research in a community-related context, and using Spanish translations will help Latino students to find cultural relevancy in the program.
The five participating LTER sites represent diverse ecosystems (desert, grasslands, tropical and temperate forests, urban areas), and provides a rich body of authentic research and data sets. By using an inquiry-based approach when comparing data gathered from these different sites, high school science teachers and their students will heighten their understanding about ecological patterns across ecosystems, and how climate influences aspects of ecosystem interactions.