Graduate Fellows 1995

Graduate Research Fellows
Brod, Stephen

Brod, Stephen

Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) (2 year award)

Steve Brod is a graduate student in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. His award is co-sponsored by the University of Arizona's Space Engineering Research Center (SERC).

Steve describes his outreach project as follows: Our lives are dominated by technology. Science is the key to understanding that technology. My project, the writing of a short book for kids, attempts to make the connection between the science learned in the classroom, and the way we use that science everyday. I also want to demonstrate the science we use everyday is the foundation of all science, including the front page sort of stuff that everyone thinks is so great. (My hope is, of course, that students will think that the everyday stuff is exciting, not that the exciting stuff is now boring.)

Harrington, Robert

Harrington, Robert

Hydrology/Water Resources (1 year award)

Bob's Space Grant outreach project: I'm organizing a presentation for K-12 grades on water. It covers some show-and-tell type physics (polarity, dissociation, phase changes, latent heat), plus some basic hydrology such as the hydrologic cycle, ground water flow, water quality, and ecology. I'm also assembling some scientific review documents regarding the San Pedro Basin, with the intent of being able to put together a field trip to the San Pedro sometime this spring.

Phillips, Cynthia

Phillips, Cynthia

Planetary Sciences (2 year award)

Cynthia's award is co-sponsored by the Department of Planetary Sciences.

Here's a brief summary of my outreach project: I'm working on developing the Galileo Satellite Science objectives into a set of curriculum modules adaptable for grades K-12. These modeules will be available on the Galileo educational web pages, as well as in stand-alone format for teachers without web access.

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~phillips

Ratts, Steve

Ratts, Steve

Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) (1 year award)

Steve describes his Space Grant outreach project: As a start I'm planning to massage the paper I wrote for my planetary science class. The topic is oxygen as a resource on mars. The paper deals primarily with where oxygen can be found and how you would go about getting it. I will work on bringing down the reading level so that highschool students will be able to enjoy it. I plan on putting it on the SERC website in both the original and re-written forms so that people will be able to learn more about the work we are doing at SERC.

Weltzin, Jake

Weltzin, Jake

Renewable Natural Resources (1 year award)

Jake's Space Grant Fellowship is co-sponsored by the Department of Renewable Natural Resources and The Institute for the Study of Planet Earth (ISPE).

He describes his Space Grant outreach project as follows:
I am working to establish an interactive science outreach program with students in science classes in southeastern Arizona. Elementary-, middle-, and high school students will be involved in a large-scale, experimental research project designed to assess the effects of potential climate change on the ecosystems in which they live and are active. In particular, students will help me investigate potential scenarios of anthropogenically-induced changes in precipitation distribution (i.e., amount and seasonality) on the recruitment of trees at a woodland/grassland boundary. Students will help apply simulated precipitation at predetermined, experimental rates, and will help assess the effects of different treatments on tree and grass populations. We will discuss our results in terms of potential effects of climate change on vegetation distribution, with a focus on subsequent ramifications for residents of southeastern Arizona.

Progress report (February 22, 1996):

My outreach program is moving along at great speed: I met with my first set of students (and parents) during the first week of February - we all had a great time. Their knowlege and interest amazed me. I am quite excited about the curriculum (e.g., we wrap Saran-wrap around the globe to simulate carbon dioxide; students fill out and interpret their own data sheets in the field), and support from teachers, parents, and students has been quite high. I will be conducting at least three field trips in the first two weeks of March with students from Tucson and Sierra Vista. My goal is to talk to and conduct field trips with at least 150 students (plus parents and teachers) by the end of the semester. And, I am looking into working with community groups (of adults) under a modified curriculum - education is a process that doesn't end with school.

June 1996 update:

It's the end of the schoolyear, so I'm planning on putting my outreach program on the summer back burner (not like it's cool outside or anything - yikes!). Overall, the year was a great success. I spoke with a total of about 330 students ranging in age from 8 to 13, including a Tucson Home School Group, Daughters on Campus, and 6th and 7th grade science classes from Smith Middle School, Fort Huachuca Military Reservation. In addition, most of these students joined me on a total of six field trips to my research site at Lower Garden Canyon. There, we discussed the effects of global climate change on ecosystems and ecotones, and collected, summarized, and analyzed data from my research plots. I enjoyed being grilled about my experimental design and research methodology by kids about half my size! I've also found out I like teaching - so that's a big change for me. My wife, the teacher, is delighted. So, I look forward to next year. I've already got speaking requests, and want to expand up to include the eighth grade.

Update: 7 Feb 1997

I will be going to my outreach demonstration site for the next several Saturdays to get things set up for the first groups of students. The main task is going to be getting some seedlings established and growing in the plots - we lost them all in last fall's drought! (How's that for a demo of reality?). The first three sets of students will be from Sunnyside High School. And, Sunnyside is picking up the travel tab by using their own buses! The next set will be from Mountain View High School or Salpointe. And, I'll be speaking to and field tripping with the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum junior naturalists later this month and in March.

Update: 26 Feb 1997

I went to the Desert Museum last weekend (February 22-23), and will this weekend, to talk to the Junior Naturalists and a Climate Change/Science Teacher Training and Curriculum Symposium. I will travel locally on the 6th and 7th of March (Desertview speaking and field trip), and to the study site (field trip with Junior Naturalists) on the 8th. I may travel to Benson and the study site on the 13th and 14th. I travel locally on the 20th and 21st (Desertview again). I have a field trip for my global change class scheduled for either the 12th or 19th April. I will be local on the 17 and 18th of April (Sunnyside HS).