Event Title

STEM student engagement and achievement in a place-based learning community centered on the local Snohomish River estuary system

Presentation Abstract

Facilitating authentic, student-led research in the local Snohomish River estuary system leads to increased engagement and achievement for students of the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). Students participate in monthly boat-based research in the Puget Sound, near the Port of Everett, to investigate parameters including dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH, micronutrients and heavy metals in the benthic sediment. Working in small groups, students formulate hypotheses that relate to the content material in a series of three classes during their first year: Ocean Technology, Introduction to Oceanography, and Marine Biology of the Pacific Northwest. Inquiry-based techniques are used as students design small-group research projects to investigate, analyze and interpret their data set while showing a command of the course content. Coursework is also integrated with mathematics, further facilitating interdisciplinary connections across the cohort-based, early-college program. In their second year students design independent research projects that culuminate in a research paper for their English 102 composition course. ORCA students collaborate with researchers that investigate the Salish Sea, including rockfish and eelgrass studies, and engage in professional networking. Students share their results at both in-house events and regional and international conferences. Now in its 15th year, ORCA alumni data demonstrates persistence in STEM fields. Two thirds of the ORCA graduates pursue a STEM major, and 95% matriculate to four-year colleges and universities. While completion data demonstrate programmatic success, the underlying outcome of creating strong connections and an appreciation for the local marine environment is illustrated through student surveys and reflections.

Session Title

Posters: Data & Information Management

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-40

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

STEM student engagement and achievement in a place-based learning community centered on the local Snohomish River estuary system

Facilitating authentic, student-led research in the local Snohomish River estuary system leads to increased engagement and achievement for students of the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). Students participate in monthly boat-based research in the Puget Sound, near the Port of Everett, to investigate parameters including dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH, micronutrients and heavy metals in the benthic sediment. Working in small groups, students formulate hypotheses that relate to the content material in a series of three classes during their first year: Ocean Technology, Introduction to Oceanography, and Marine Biology of the Pacific Northwest. Inquiry-based techniques are used as students design small-group research projects to investigate, analyze and interpret their data set while showing a command of the course content. Coursework is also integrated with mathematics, further facilitating interdisciplinary connections across the cohort-based, early-college program. In their second year students design independent research projects that culuminate in a research paper for their English 102 composition course. ORCA students collaborate with researchers that investigate the Salish Sea, including rockfish and eelgrass studies, and engage in professional networking. Students share their results at both in-house events and regional and international conferences. Now in its 15th year, ORCA alumni data demonstrates persistence in STEM fields. Two thirds of the ORCA graduates pursue a STEM major, and 95% matriculate to four-year colleges and universities. While completion data demonstrate programmatic success, the underlying outcome of creating strong connections and an appreciation for the local marine environment is illustrated through student surveys and reflections.