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LSC 250 - Science Outreach Practicum - Wendy Johnston

Abstract:
Science Outreach is designed to give Science majors a way to apply the material in their major by communicating the exciting field of science to K-5 Elementary students. 

This course reaches out to Elementary schools in the surrounding areas, supplementing and enhancing the Science curriculum in public schools. The program emphasizes hands-on learning for both the elementary children and for the Otterbein students. In designing Science demonstrations and experimental activities, Otterbein students are challenged to bring their expertise in their major to a broader audience. This process engages students in a critical assessment of the most effective means of communicating difficult concepts to a diverse group.

The course projects cover civic engagement and meet the community need of the lack of science in the K-5 curriculum. Both projects followed the Department of Education State recommended guidelines. The outreach events designed through this course give children short exposure the dynamic field of science. This course uses narrative-style learning, where the children gathered data into a field notebook and applied the information gathered to a related topic they've been exploring in their classroom. The Otterbein students benefit from this field course, as they are not only responsible for the design of the outreach program, but they also refine the program to meet federal standards. OC Students had the primary responsibility to lead the elementary children through their event, as well as provide supporting materials for the Elementary teachers.

Partnership and Collaborative Development 
Building on a prior relationship with Kathy Anclein, Linda Cullison and Jamie Fino, we partnered with a total of 5 teachers to bring 2 separate outreach events to the students.

Evaluation
Feedback from teachers and elementary age students was obtained using Assessment forms designed for the specific events: all teachers report significant student learning and excitement for the Science Days. Teachers stressed how the Events met their standards for 2nd grade science. Able and Talented teachers stressed how their students were engaged in the Science Mystery Scenario and related that it's crucial to engage these talented students in Science as many are likely to pursue these areas in the future and become science professionals.

Stories and Successes 
2nd Grade Science Day February 21, 2008 : 7 OC students conducted 5 stations on the Science of Sound for 3 classrooms (75) of Annehurst Elementary 2nd graders. The students were excited and stimulated and the teachers reported higher retention of the concepts because of the outreach event.

4th grade Forensic Science Mystery February 28th and March 13th, 2008: 7 OC students held a Science event which engaged 40 Gifted Education 4th graders at Hanby Arts Magnet School in solving a Forensic Science Case. Students and teachers were extremely enthusiastic while participating in the evidence collection and data analysis portion of the event. Students then prepared their case and presented their findings at a follow-up event 2 weeks later.

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