During the 2012-13 school year Teton Science Schools’ Outreach Programs served 1947 students in 69 classrooms across Wyoming. The outreach programs serve classrooms of teachers who participate in professional development programs with the Teacher Learning Center. The outreach programs are taught by Teton Science Schools’ graduate students, AmeriCorps interns, or instructors. This year outreach programs took place in the following Wyoming communities: Saratoga, Laramie, Cheyenne, Casper, Lander, Arapaho, Rock Springs, and Rawlins.
The goals of the outreach program are to: 1) Support classroom teachers in implementing place-based science education, 2) Provide Graduate Students and other TSS instructors with opportunities to experience public education in Wyoming schools 3) Increase scientific literacy and connection to place in the students served.
Of the outreach program, one teacher wrote, “My kids came into my class thinking that science was taking notes out of a book. TSS helps them realize that science topics are literally everywhere!”
The Graduate Students reported gaining a deeper appreciation for unique Wyoming places. When we first came to the site for our field trip in the Red Desert with a Rawlins elementary school, the graduate students were not sure that there would be much to see or do. However, once they explored it with their students, their pockets were full of rocks collected from the site and everyone had found several animal specimens in the field. They agreed with one of the enduring understandings from their place-based education course, “all places are special or no places are special.”
Next year outreach programs will reach many of the same Wyoming communities and also reach into eastern Idaho.