NTL-LTER establishes long-term relationships with schools and districts in Wisconsin. Unlike many outreach and education activities that are dependent on relatively short-term partnerships, our guiding philosophy is much like our commitment to ecological research – we develop long-term relationships. NTL-LTER and the Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin Madison have collaborated since 1998 on the development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of outreach and education.
We partner with schools in the Arbor-Vitae Woodruff area of northern Wisconsin near the Trout Lake Field Station. Scientists and other staff at the Trout Lake Field Station work with area elementary teachers and middle school teachers to involve students in winter limnology activities that introduce students to scientists, LTER research done in their area, biological diversity, and limnological methods. The Trout Lake Field Station also hosts Research Experiences for Teachers participants.
LTER-school partnerships in southern Wisconsin include the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Middleton Cross Plains School District, and Milwaukee Public Schools. Activities in southern Wisconsin, include workshops and courses for K-12 teachers, precollege activities for elementary, middle, and high school students, and research experiences for teachers.
We have also partnered with science education reform research projects in Wisconsin, California, and Tennessee. These efforts are part of the System-wide Change for All Learners and Educators project and with faculty at Peabody College in Vanderbilt University on Supporting the Development of Model-based Reasoning to understand progressions of learning K-undergraduate in ecology and evolution. Researcher from UW Madison and Vanderbilt University collaborated with K-12 teachers in the Verona Area School District to help children develop their understanding of ecology (Website).
Our partnerships with schools has led to productive collaboration among K-12 teachers, scientists, science educators, and information managers that have successfully developed educational materials used in professional development workshops and courses for teachers and instructional materials for students. We have worked with district science administrators and teachers to align materials with existing curriculum. For example, we have integrated several pieces of NTL research and methodology within Full Options Science Systems to create locally relevant inquiry activities for students.
NTL scientists at the Trout Lake Biological Field Station and at UW-Madison routinely host teachers in their research group. Research Experiences for Teachers participants typically spend part of their summer actively conducting research and developing instructional materials related to their research, followed by academic year field-testing in their schools. Contact Dr. Robert Bohanan if you're interested in learning more about this opportunity.