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Opportunities Abound at STEM Institute
Opportunities Abound at STEM Institute
GSI elicits change through imagination/hard work/fun/excitement
Rising 9th graders head to Green Bank
June 28-July 11
Is the sky really the limit?
The central theme for GSI-Green Bank is radio astronomy research with extensive, supporting exposure to advanced topics in science, computing, engineering, and mathematics.
For two weeks, students will be on location at the GBO and immersed in the research activities of this national research center. During their stay, they work in teams of five to six students led by a teacher and supported by a student mentor and a GBO staff scientist. Students will pursue open-ended research problems through observations on a dedicated 40-foot diameter radio telescope, and robotic 20 Meter Telescope. These research problems are carefully designed to cover a variety of research situations and are viable projects with potential for new knowledge to be generated.
Research problems will include measuring the hydrogen gas in the Milky Way Galaxy, attempting to detect radio emission from the planets, and measuring the emission from black holes in distant galaxies. So that they are able to quickly gain an appreciation of the challenges that they face, the students are presented these research problems on the second day of GSI.
After receiving instruction in the operating and safety procedures of the 40-foot radio telescope, student teams will be given access to the instrument to observe and collect data. Each team determines their own observing schedules and modifies their research strategy as they gain experience and begin to analyze their data. Each student research team will be paired with a GBO staff scientist who acts as an advisor to the team, guiding the students by asking questions rather than by giving answers. In order for the students to truly experience research, the GSI staff members do not tell the students what to do, but rather encourage them to consider various concepts and procedures.
Although this may be frustrating to the students at first it is an effective approach that successfully promotes a thorough understanding of the nature of science, and instills a level of intellectual confidence in the team members. Teams will also work with a student mentor,
an undergrad student who will assist the team members in working together.
The students are placed in a new role as radio astronomers and are responsible for developing their own understanding of the necessary concepts and research strategies. With this freedom and responsibility to learn and explore, some students, understandably, experience moderate anxiety. They must learn to trust each other, their data, and take control of their project. The student m
entors help mediate the group dynamic and ensure that ALL team members participate equally.
A sample daily schedule follows:
8:15 Morning Exercise
8:45 Announcements and Sign-up for Afternoon Activities
10:00 STEM Explorations (all students participate in each activity)
• Engineering (Group 1)
• Scientific Digital Visualization (Group 2)
• Computer Science (Group 3)
12:15 PM Lunch
1:15 Afternoon Seminars
• Recreational Activities (volleyball, running, swimming pool, etc.)
• Research Projects (observations, meet with scientist, etc.)
• Literature and art opportunities
6:00 Whole group competitions
7:00 Research Talk
8:00 Free Time (Internet, Frisbee, Phone, etc.)
8:45 Small Group Meetings with Teachers and Mentors
9:00 Free Time
10:15 Bunk House Meeting
10:30 Lights Out
The teachers are recruited from public schools and institutions of higher learning throughout the country.
Two sessions for rising eighth graders (9 days)
Rising 8th graders will study at WVU
Do you observe the "five second rule" when you drop food in the floor? Do you know what causes bread to rise? A cake? Why are some foods healthier than others? Is caffeine bad or good? Read on.
Session I--June 25-July 3; Session II July 5-13
Two groups of 48 rising eighth-grade students will work in research groups at West Virginia University (WVU) to learn the math and physics necessary for their research project, which is "The Math and Science of Food
The goal of the Governor’s STEM Institute is to build academic skills of rising 8th grade West Virginians, in an engaging atmosphere that cultivates personal interest in the STEM fields, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.. Each year will be developed around a single research problem-based-learning theme.
Students will be placed into research, academic, and mentoring groups. Each group has 8-9
students, but each group has a different set of students in it.
The Institute uses the jigsaw model of cooperative learning wherein each student becomes an expert in an academic area, and brings that expertise to their research group. Research groups then collaborate to develop one portion of a larger overall academic project, and they bring that to the whole-group of the Institute. To become an expert in their academic area, each student attends two classes daily in a variety of disciplines (e.g. mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering) during the first half of the session to gain the tools and skills they need to contribute to their research group project.
In addition to classes and projects, students will have afternoon recreational time daily with multiple activities to choose from. Mentors will accompany students to all activities. Some activities will include interactive discussions with WVU faculty members, games in the WVU Mountainlair games area and physical activities at the WVU Student Recreation Center.
Students will live in the WVU Honors Hall with roommates and suitemates of the same gender. All meals will be eaten together in an adjacent residence hall dining facility.
Two primary components of the program that utilize the jigsaw model are the research and academic groups. Each student is assigned to one research and one academic group, providing the opportunity for them to work closely with different groups of students. Academic and research groups are comprised of 8-9 students each.
At the start of the GSI, the research groups meet to determine the focus of their research as it relates to the central theme for the session. The students, knowing what their academic classes will be, discuss what they need to learn to complete their research project. The students attend two classes per day for approximately 5 days, becoming experts in the material from these academic classes. They then take this information back to their research groups and contribute, as an expert, to the research group’s project and common goal.
In addition to the classes and projects, students will have afternoon recreational activity time daily with at least three activities to choose from each day. Ev
ening activities will include science lectures by WVU faculty, visits to the Recreation Center, Mountainlair games area, a swimming party and a dance.
The resources of West Virginia University are at the disposal of GSI faculty, staff, and students. Faculty will be recruited from public schools and institutions of higher learning throughout West Virginia.
The Dean of Students is Dr. Jessica Deshler, associate professor of mathematics. Program directors are Bill and Gretchen Gibson, award-winning math and science teachers in Monongalia County.
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