Education

NC State lands $7.3M 'Citizen Science' grant to boost research in schools

Posted September 17, 2013

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— North Carolina State University is leading a five-year, $7.3 million “citizen science” initiative to give science teachers and students the opportunity to engage in meaningful scientific research while improving their educational success.

“We will have students making new scientific discoveries, improve the learning outcomes of those students, get teachers excited about the work and find ways to scale this up for use across the country and beyond,” said Rob Dunn, an associate professor of biology at N.C. State and principal investigator of the National Science Foundation grant.

Other groups involved in the program include: N.C. State’s Kenan Fellows Program, which offers training and development to teachers; N.C. State’s Friday Institute in the College of Education, which focuses on educational innovation; the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and school districts from across North Carolina. In the future, researchers hope for the project to become a worldwide program.

“One of the first things we want to do as early as possible is recruit 10,000 science teachers from anywhere in the world to register to be part of the program,” Dunn says. “A key overall goal is to develop teaching tools that can be used anywhere.”

In the first year, the NSF-funded program will set up four labs at the science museum. Teachers with the Kenan fellowship will work with scientists to develop course modules that revolve around original research projects. Initial projects will examine urban wildlife, microbial life found in soil and paleontology, among others.

Course modules should be completed by the end of summer 2014 and will then be incorporated into middle school science classrooms in seven North Carolina school systems. These classes will be closely tracked to determine the modules’ impact on academic achievement and other outcomes. More school systems will be added to the program each year. Throughout the program, modules will become available online for use by any interested teacher.

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  • marsupial75 Sep 18, 2013

    I work in academia...congrats to NCSU! NSF grants are extremely competitive and thus hard to win, so this is quite the achievement.

    Whodathunk, I'm pretty sure that science and math programs are falling further and further behind their counterparts in other countries isn't a non-existent problem. Plus, these sorts of grants, by the way, require quite a bit of documentation to prevent overspending on overhead. Do your homework before your diatribes, please.

  • itsnotatumah Sep 18, 2013

    Oh and before this the NSA forked over a large amount of money to install a facility on campus.

  • Vote for Pedro Sep 18, 2013

    Good for NCSU. The sciences need bolstering in order to drive innovation. Whooda, there have been multiple discoveries in science and medicine stemming from the "eggheads" research", and surprise, NCSU actually has classrooms.

  • whoodathunk Sep 17, 2013

    Another bogus grant that will do nothing. Better to spend the $7.5 million on schools rather than "studies." The race to the bottom continues...disgusting to think that a greedy bunch of egg-heads will spend half the $7.5million on "overhead" and researchers with nothing better to do than write stupid grants to solve non-existent problems will be taking up money that should be spent in our classrooms. Heckuvajob, NCSU!

  • carrboroyouth Sep 17, 2013

    congrats to NC State!