COS 10-4
Turning K-12 environmental education InSciEd Out : Using prescription education to engage young students in the environmental sciences

Monday, August 5, 2013: 2:30 PM
L100A, Minneapolis Convention Center
Seth K. Thompson, University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
James B. Cotner, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN

Integrated Science Education Outreach (InSciEd Out) started in 2009 as a partnership between the Mayo Clinic, Winona State University, and Rochester Public Schools in Minnesota to achieve the shared vision of excellence in scientific education. This program relies on developing partnerships between cutting-edge scientists and local public schools to create a pool of expertise that can be used to develop innovative science curriculum. The goal of InSciEd Out is not just to teach science, but rather to teach students how to think scientifically and this ambitious goal requires fundamentally changing public school science curricula. Here we present the progress made by a partnership between the Mayo Clinic and College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota in developing an environmentally focused InSciEd Out curriculum to be implemented in K-12 schools across the Twin Cities.


Results from a current InSciEd Out partnership between the Mayo Clinic and Lincoln K-8 from Rochester Public Schools have demonstrated that the program has the potential to significantly improve both the science proficiency of students and their interest in science. Lincoln students showed a higher percentage of medium and high growth over a three-year period in science proficiency than other students in the district. Since the InSciEd Out curriculum was introduced in 2009, 5th grade science proficiency scores have increased dramatically. In 2008 (before InSciEd Out implementation) less than 50% of Lincoln’s 5th grade students were proficient in science. In 2012, testing showed 83% of the students proficient. Not only have students increased their scientific proficiency, but InSciEd Out has sparked the interest of students in studying science. Eigth grade students electing to take an honors biology course has doubled with the InSciEd Out program in place. Taken together, these results demonstrate that students can achieve excellence in the sciences when they are provided exciting opportunities and tools.