Utilize a Local Focus
Using local case studies and field trips helps students establish a sense of relevance, importance, and in some cases urgency regarding classroom topics covered. Making students aware of local social justice issues is efficient in catching their attention from the on-set and promotes buy-in throughout the project or activity.
Provide Ground Truth with Local Examples
Introducing students to local events and case studies that have significant societal implications to their own communities will give them a personal sense of involvement. Examples may include opportunities for students to become citizen scientists and learn about or even conduct research that benefits society by their participation.
During their 2016 workshop, the Oregon: Portland team brought in a local civil engineer and storm water expert to present on local stormwater issues and a culvert blowout in the local community.
The D.C. Metro team ran a workshop in their region on using field trips effectively to engage students with their local environments.
Incorporating local and regional environmental issues into the classroom was an area of emphasis during the Michigan Team's 2019 workshop.
Introduce Local Social Justice Issues
Collaboration with a local non-profit group "Vanport Mosaic" resulted in a guest speaker at a Regional Workshop that shared the story of the Vanport flood. This event wiped out the second largest city in Oregon displacing a high concentration of minority families and killing 15. Banners provided by the Vanport Mosaic were used in a gallery walk/jigsaw activity as a model of how a local case study with social justice issues can be infused into Geoscience lessons.
Use Field Trips to Engage with Local Regions
Through field trips to local sites of interest, students can learn how Geoscience-related topics can be experienced within their local area. By conducting scientific investigations and participating in hands-on real world studies, students can develop a sense of belonging and ownership in their local community.
Students present STEM research proposals and findings regarding a local watershed in a collaborative setting that foster mentoring relationships with educational institutions and scientists. This facilitates public awareness about the state of the watershed and how the community can contribute to a healthy ecosystem.
This team is working to increase diversity by establishing an Oceanography Club that offers students opportunities to participate in kayaking, surfing, tidal-pooling, beach clean-ups, and other activities in their local area. These opportunities allow students to learn about their local area while interacting with it directly.