During the 2011-12 school year, Teton Science Schools’ outreach programs served 2255 students and 125 teachers in Wyoming and Idaho in 2 or 3 day programs in 17 schools. Over the course of the year, those programs were taught by 15 graduate students, 12 instructors, and 7 AmeriCorps interns, and all programs were overseen by 1 faculty member. 90% of students who participated in Teton Science Schools’ outreach programs reported that they learned something new about science. All programs involved students taking a field trip facilitated by Teton Science Schools. The location for the field trip was in the local community and was chosen by the classroom teachers. Outreach programs were funded by the George B. Storer Foundation, the Place-Learning & Civic Engagement (PLACE) Math-Science Partnership program, and the Grand Teton National Park Fire Ecology program.
Here are a few quotes expressing the power of the outreach programs:
- From a graduate student: “The [classroom] teacher was surprised that many of the students expressed being frustrated that I was not just giving them the answer and that they had to think about it or risk the chance of being wrong with an answer. This was a rewarding reflection to share with the teacher as she spoke about how often she used direct instruction and what that meant for the students development of their learning styles. An area for growth was the level of understanding that sometimes inquiry can be frustrating for younger students if they are not instructed in this style on a regular basic. Creating steps or phases to move towards inquiry instruction could create a more successful learning environment.”
- From a 5th grade student: “It was important Teton Science School came to my school because I am not very good at science and it really helped me.”
- From a 3rd grade teacher: “I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful experience we had with my graduate student instructor! I could not have asked for more. She was knowledgeable and kind. She connected well with my kids and worked hard to meet the goals and expectations I wanted! I am so impressed. She was spontaneous and flexible and was able to adapt to the needs and wants of the students.”