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Friday, May 9, 2014

Climate and Energy: Education Outreach Activities Summer 2014

Engaging a broad spectrum of the education continuum in Kansas on the importance of STEM research (particularly climate and energy) is one of KNE's goals. To advance this goal KNE provided funding for Education and Diversity Grants that take a wide range of approaches, many of which involve summer workshops and symposia for students and teachers in the state. A description these events are below.

July 7-9, 2014 - ESU Summer Scholars Program (Emporia State University, Emporia, KS) run by Elizabeth Yanik, Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics.

The Emporia State Summer Scholar program is a three day summer program targeted toward Hispanic middle school students. This program will extend the STEM outreach work already underway at ESU. The focus of this program will be mathematical modeling where students will work in teams learning how to use functions on a graphing calculator. The will then be asked to create simple mathematical models to analyze various situations. Such a model could be used for studying the effects of global climate change on Kansas agriculture. One example might be to select variables such as moisture level, temperature, and rainfalls and relate these to differences in crop yields. Each team will make a presentation of their modeling efforts and summarize their conclusions at the end of the program.

The objectives of the program as a whole are to: increase Hispanic youth’s interest in science and mathematics, foster awareness of career opportunities in mathematics and science-related fields, and provide Hispanic youth with an opportunity to meet and form personal contacts with professionals working in mathematics and science-related careers.

Summer of 2014 - Increasing Energy Education in Grades 5-12 for Rural School Teachers (Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS) run by Paul Adams, Anschutz Endowed Professor of Teacher Education.

Energy education is critical to the economic future of the United States. Knowledgeable teachers are essential to provide this education. While opportunities exist for teachers to become knowledgeable in this area, underrepresented groups such as those in geographically underserved locales have few opportunities to participate in professional development programs. The project addresses this lack by offering a professional development model that will improve STEM education by enhancing teachers’ knowledge of energy. This is being accomplished over a two-year period as the teachers participate in learning that blends virtual and face-to-face experiences. 

For more information about any of these programs please visit http://www.nsfepscor.ku.edu/EducationDiversity2012.html or contact Doug Byers at dbyers@ku.edu.

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