Target 4. Engaged Community Partners – FWSU staff and students will collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize ideas and learning with local, regional, state, and global partners to make a difference in their community, state, and world.
Action Step – Engage community partners in a focused collaborative inquiry process.
Indicators of Success – Learning outcomes will be expanded to encourage curiosity, communication, and digital citizenry.
BFA middle school students recently welcomed visiting University of Vermont Ph.D. candidates in the field of experimental psychology. They shared their experience in performing scientific investigations with Chris Palmer’s middle school science class. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasizes the need for students to learn to work and think like scientists, and candidates’ discussion provided the class with details on real-life scientific investigations.
The visiting scientists spoke about studies of human behavior, specifically the human tendency to relapse in drug and alcohol addiction. Their explorations were based on rat models. They were interested in studying triggering variables for relapse, and they attempted to simulate triggering variables with the rats by making their cages smell or look similar to the context in which they had previously been receiving the rewarding stimulus – in this case, the stimulus was analogous to the addictive substance in humans. These scientists demonstrated how they asked questions, developed and used models, planned and carried out their investigations, and analyzed their data – very similar to the process students use in the classroom.The science class had great opportunities to ask questions.
How many of these middle school students will be conducting scientific investigations in the future to make a difference in the world?