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Matthew Erickson of the Ecosystems Center describes research at the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research site in Antarctica to Suzanne Avtges, a science teacher at Mashpee High school.

Partnership Encourages Collaboration Between Scientists and Teachers

Matthew Erickson, senior research assistant at the Ecosystems Center, and nine other scientists from Woods Hole scientific institutions presented their research to Falmouth, Bourne and Mashpee teachers at a dinner program October 22 at the Landfall Restaurant. The event was organized by the Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP), which promotes science education and fosters partnerships between scientists and teachers.

Using laptop computers, posters, microscopes, maps, and samples, the scientists gave an overview of their research activities, along with basic science concepts that teachers can use in their classrooms from kindergarten through high school. After the display session, teachers and scientists had dinner together and made connections for future classroom presentations. Also attending were Marc Dupuis, interim superintendent of Falmouth Public schools, Liz McGonagle, interim assistant superintendent in Falmouth and director of curriculum and instruction, and liaisons and representatives from the scientific institutions.

Other scientists and outreach staff who participated in the program were: Kristen Lans, MBL (Encyclopedia of Life); Russ Brown, Northeast Fisheries Science Center (fisheries); Kathleen Savage, Woods Hole Research Center (forest soils and carbon cycling); Sarah Das and Maya Bhatia, geology and geophysics department, WHOI, (Greenland glaciers); Brian Buczkowski, USGS Woods Hole Science Center (mapping the seafloor); Mindy Richlen, biology department, WHOI (harmful algal blooms); Kara Lavender, Sea Education Association (teaching oceanography through the research experience); Hanu Singh, deep submergence lab, WHOI (undersea robotics and imaging).

WHSTEP was established in 1989. Its goals are to explore and develop new models of science and math education; to develop an effective partnership among schools, scientific institutions, and businesses; to assure that all students and teachers have equal opportunities within the partnership, and to promote and expand scientific literacy in the community at large.