Earth and Environment Interest Group
Project-based, experiential learning
Students are naturally captivated by their local natural and built environments. This innate fascination can be leveraged to build students' interests in science and keep them engaged during critical drop out points. Locally-relevant, grassroots initiatives are vitally important tools to build pathways into STEM fields (e.g. biology, geosciences, engineering, technology) for a wide range of underrepresented minority students.
Project-based, experiential learning should: 1) nurture active education through environmentally, culturally and geographically relevant guided inquiry, 2) empower and employ informal and/or non-traditional community educators (e.g., indigenous elders, family, practitioners of natural knowledge, museum staff), and 3) value exploration over answers, context over content, and cross-cultural and interdisciplinary experiences over memorization.
Utilizing and connecting community networks
Getting to the heart of community is a multi-pronged approach that must include: 1) integrating community-driven research into science and learning from community members, 2) empowering informal community networks to share experiences and create identity in science, and 3) creating an inclusive culture that takes into consideration social and cultural factors that impact communities.
The Earth and Environmental Science Interest group was formed by INCLUDES pilots that are using community engagement to increase high-quality opportunities for all students to learn science. The group is open to all who share its vision. The group may be particularly useful for INCLUDES pilot projects or those who are interested in forming or joining such projects.