Summary: The goal of this project is to develop rich instructional resources that introduce elementary and middle school students to the process of thinking like a scientist. The materials accompany an existing print- and web-based resource called the Natural Inquirer, an educational journal produced by the USDA Forest Service and the Cradle of Forestry in the America Interpretive Association. The Natural Inquirer (http://www.naturalinquirer.org/) contains educational materials that teach science concepts in the context of actual USDA Forest Service research studies. These materials are available for free to K12 educators.
For this project, RAIL faculty are developing online instructional modules and videos of USDA Forest Service Scientists explaining how they develop and test researchable questions, analyze their data, and explain their results to others. Many of these scientists have articles in the Natural Inquirer, making these resources robust as stand-alone instructional materials while also serving to augment the existing print- and web-based materials.
Institutional Partners: Forest Service US Department of Agriculture
Faculty: Christa Deissler, TJ Kopcha, Emily Hodge, Brian Way
Students: Mutlu Sen, Keri Valentine
Natural Inquirer website: http://www.naturalinquirer.org/
Scientist Videos (Youtube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/user/naturalinquirer