Technical Description. A Systemic PARTnership Aimed at Connecting University and School (SPARTACUS) project forms linkages among university researchers and their graduate students with the K-12 community. Focusing on the hydrologic cycle in a coastal watershed it conveys the importance of interdisciplinary efforts in scientific and social issues, to K-12 students and teachers through the work of Graduate Fellows and their advisors. Interrelationships of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and geology are examined in a local watershed using the Saco River Coastal Observing System (SaRCOS). It investigates how precipitation drives river discharge, which in turn, governs the coastal current, which influences coastal weather. While scientifically important, these phenomena are also tangible to students at all levels.
Broader Impacts. The project engages K-12 students and teachers in authentic inquiry-based learning in STEM-related disciplines. This unique project brings together school districts' needs, scientific research, and place-based inquiry education. Graduate Fellows gain an understanding of the educational process, develop communication skills and team building, and appreciate the importance of K-12 outreach as a professional commitment. Place-based inquiry projects are used to engage students in active learning. Schools benefit from professional development of teachers, and enrichment of the learning environment, while society gains greater scientific and technical literacy. The schools encompass rural to urban settings, including the two largest and most ethnically diverse districts in Maine. Replication of the model is highly viable since it is grounded in local environs and research, effectively connecting the community, school and university.
MS Degree Students wanted
Text of NSF Proposal