"This award will have a significant impact on our graduate program and will help foster a vital partnership with K-12 schools throughout the county," said Dr. Richard Tankersley, the associate professor of biological sciences who applied for the grant and will serve as the program's director.
The project, Integrated Science Teaching Enhancement Partnership (InSTEP), was originated to improve science instruction and increase student enthusiasm for scientific inquiry and discovery. Eight Florida Tech graduate students, or Fellows, from biology, chemistry, physics, and marine and environmental systems programs, will match up with integrated science teachers in grades 9-11. Using the "ocean exploration" theme, they will help to design and pilot a series of learning modules linking the core integrated science content areas of earth science, biology, chemistry and physics.
The project also includes funding for a fully-equipped, mobile laboratory, which Fellows and teachers will use to facilitate hands-on learning at local field sites. The new modules will be distributed to integrated science teachers throughout the state via Florida's NSF-sponsored Center for Ocean Sciences Education and Excellence.
"We foresee that this opportunity will make a major difference to high school science teachers and their students, and are extremely excited that the NSF has helped us to make this collaboration possible," said Florida Tech President Anthony J. Catanese.