ShowMe Nature GK-12: It works because great minds don’t think alike Frequency of teaching with research tools Nicole Miller-Struttmann, Anna Waldron & Candace Galen Professional development of graduate fellows Mechanisms of sustainability Virtual research expeditions Fellows integrate research and education Fellows develop communication, administrative and collaborative skills by engaging students in writing research proposals and implementing funded projects through our Mini-Grant program. Fellows engage students in their research through Science Safari Research Days at MU, curriculum integration, and Mini-Grant development. Fellows bring their research into the classroom through interactive broadcasts in real time. This program is slated for statewide expansion through a proposed collaboration with university partners in St. Louis and Springfield. Graduate fellows enhance learning of core science curricula by integrating their research with educational goals. Overlap between science content and graduate research is challenging in some realms (Fig. 3). Despite this, fellows address a broad range of scientific disciplines through activities that incorporate curriculum goals with their research (Table 1.) Figure 5. (A) Alex Lobzhanidze, GK-12 computer engineer, assists Nicole Miller-Struttmann, post-doctoral researcher, in broadcasting her research on insect ecology (B). (5A) (5B) In our first cohort of Graduate Fellows, most perceive strong benefits of guiding the development and implementation of a research proposal in the classroom (Fig. 1). Fellows cited new research opportunities and enhanced administrative abilities as the primary professional rewards. (4C) (4A) (4B) Informal Science Education We use safari days at MU to build relationships between non-GK-12 graduate students interested in science outreach and K-12 students (Fig. 6). (6A) (6B) (6C) Mixtures Ecosystems Adaptation Diversity of life Nutrient cycles Simple machines Scientific inquiry Experimental design Overall science skills Scientific understanding Figure 1. GK-12 Fellow perceptions of their professional development as a result of conducting a mini-grant with their elementary students. Figure 3. Proportion of GK-12 Fellows’ graduate research that overlaps with national and state-level science curricula. Examples: GK-12 Fellow, Jeffrey Dale on leading 5th grade students at Lee Elementary in writing their mini-grant proposal, Protecting the environment, one rain barrel at a time(Fig. 2A and B) states, “I have learned the importance of setting goals, timelines, and deadlines in the completion of team-driven tasks” and “I have increased my ability to ‘facilitate’ information without directly providing [it].” Another GK-12 Fellow, LianneHibbert, reflects on leading 5thgrade students at Fairview Elementary in the creation of their mini-grant, Fairview Forecasters, “This was a worthwhile effort for me as a communicator…working with children you have to really make a concerted effort for clarity, continuity, and simplicity. All of those things are needed in grant writing at any level.” Figure 6. Graduate students during a Science Safari day delight fourth and fifth graders with live snakes, frogs, and katydids (6A). Students learn about amphibians including rare Missouri salamanders (6B). Scientists work with students to diagnose wetland health using bio-indicators(6C). Table 1. Specific topics in science that fellows addressed by engaging students in their research at Science Safari Days and in the classroom Mini-grants Commitment fromcorporate and governmental partners to support student research through our mini-grant program will have an enduring legacy. (2A) (2B) GK-12 pedagogical research To measure the impact of Fellows’ GK-12 experiences on STEM in higher education more broadly, our team is also conducting research on how participation in GK-12 affects graduate student pedagogy at the college level. Fellows integrate current research tools into their teaching of undergraduate students more often than their non-fellow peers (Fig. 7). Figure 4. Stephanie Schuttler (4A), a Conservation Biology graduate student, engages students in her PhD research on the social structure of African forest elephants. Stephanie’s students measure “bolus” size of elephants to estimate age (4B) and use DNA to sex elephants (4C) . Figure 2. (A) Students listen as an expert from The City of Columbia’s Stormwater Management program advises them on rain barrel installation (diagrammed in B). (C) Chad King, a Fish and Wildlife graduate student, teaching students how the global positioning system works and how to use it. (2C) Figure 7. Frequency that GK-12 fellows and their non-fellow peers use research tools when teaching undergraduates.