09 September 2014

2014 Highlights from the BES Education Team

The BES Education Team is happy to share our most recent accomplishments working with educators and students this past year.  The 2013-2014 school year drew a dozen educators from three major disciplines (science, math, social studies) to four Saturday BES teacher workshops.  Workshop topics included Energy and Climate Change, Inner Harbor Ecology, Groundwater and Environmental Justice.  Many thanks to our colleagues and partners who participated and shared their knowledge with our teachers (Adam Frederick, Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program; Aditi Bhaskar, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Geoff Buckley, Ohio University).

During Spring of 2014, BES held its first Baltimore Data Jam Competition.  Twenty-five students from four area schools participated in the competition which challenged teams of students to develop a creative, non-traditional product that portrays the trend(s) of a Baltimore-related data set.  Each team submitted a poster along with their product.  The competition was held at Arbutus Middle School where students displayed their projects, spoke with scientists, parents and artists, and received awards for their entries.  The Best Overall projects hailed from Arbutus Middle School in Baltimore County and South River High School in Anne Arundel County.  Winning projects can be viewed on the BES website.  A second Baltimore Data Jam Competition is planned for 2015.

A BES Education Team first occurred this summer—a workshop targeting just social studies teachers.  Two Baltimore City social studies teachers joined our team this summer for a three day workshop exploring the social and ecological history of city neighborhoods.  One day was spent taking street tree and park amenity surveys in Bolton Hill and Butchers Hill and two days were spent at the Baltimore City archives working with Ed Papenfuse and Rob Schoeberlein who assisted our efforts to identify changes that have occurred in the Govans and Grove Park neighborhoods in the City.  Special thanks to Morgan Grove (USFS) and Seema Iyer (BNIA) for visiting with our teachers and exploring additional data resources to aid in our research efforts.

Finally, this summer we welcomed a new cohort of BES teachers into our Environmental Science professional development program.  This group attended a five day summer workshop where they explored tree diversity, water quality and mosquito habitats.  The teachers delved into pathways of student thinking and explored new teaching strategies for engaging students in scientific inquiry.  We look forward to working with these teachers throughout the 2014-2015 school year!

For more information or questions about BES Education, please contact Bess Caplan at caplanb@caryinstitute.org.