GK12 Lesson Plan Workshop for Middle & High School Science Teachers

STEM Lesson Plans Drawn from VIMS Marine Science Research

Monday, January 19, 2015 @ 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
VIMS Watermen's Hall
Gloucester Point, VA
*Register Now*

Matt FreedmanOver the course of five years, the NSF-funded VIMS PERFECT Project placed marine science graduate Fellows as “visiting scientists” in middle and high school classrooms.  Working with Partner Teachers, the Fellows developed and tested lesson plans, demonstrations and activities that highlighted their cutting-edge science and its real world applications. 

This workshop introduces the PERFECT Lesson Collection of more than 70 resources by engaging teachers in examples of these inventive activities.   What VIMS Fellows’ lessons do:

  • Address basic concepts, skills, SOLs using marine science examples.
  • Illustrate authentic scientific process.
  • Use models to examine scientific content, illustrate or test processes.
  • Show real-world science applications and how science is used to investigate and solve problems.
  • Introduce more technology into classroom activities.
  • Represent science and science careers as rewarding and attainable.

Workshop participants will each receive:

  • $200 stipend
  • Complete PERFECT Lesson Collection on flash drive
  • Classroom materials
  • Certificate of Participation
  • Lunch

Participants will attend four of the following seven sessions:

  • Bioturbation in the Baltic Benthos by Matt Freedman (Environmental & marine sciences; Grades 10-12)
    A vivid simulation in which students model the burrowing and feeding behavior of an invasive worm in the Baltic Sea.  The introduction of the worm in 1985 caused an unwelcome problem: Toxic pollutants (PCBs) that had been banned and were safely sequestered in the seafloor sediment were dredged back up by the worms.  After witnessing this phenomenon in their models, students are challenged to turn the simulation into a quantitative experiment.  Finally, students engage in a role-playing scenario in which they propose strategies to control the worm invasion.
  • Capturing Clams (experimental design & sampling) by Cassandra Glaspie (Life & marine sciences; Grades 6-8)
    Students design experiments and sampling schemes for assessing clam abundance in two different mock habitats: seagrass meadow vs. sandy seafloor (shoeboxes of sand, artificial grass, and buried beans as clams).  Students then analyze and interpret the data.
  • The Daily Catch by Annie Murphy (Environmental & marine sciences; Grades 9-12)
    Adapted from a Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History lesson.  A hands-on simulation in which students adopt various stakeholder roles for a fishery (scientists, policymakers, and commercial and recreational fishers), make season-by-season decisions, and model the long-term consequences of those decisions on the fish stock.  Involves critical thinking and simple math, and illustrates the complex, dynamic nature of fished populations and the challenges of sustainably managing them.
  • A Day as a BATS Scientist by Jami Ivory (Life, environmental & marine sciences; Grades 7-12)
    Lesson introduces long-term oceanographic research on zooplankton populations. Students analyze actual scans of magnified zooplankton samples, identify major zooplankton taxa, count the number from each group, and graph a time series of one group: arrow worms (chaetognaths).  They then compare their chaetognath trends to graphs of other environmental data collected on same dates and sites, and propose explanations for the population trends.
  • Groundwater, Land Use & Eutrophication by Britt Dean (Earth, environmental & marine sciences; Grades 9-12)
    Working in teams, students create a model of one of three land-use scenarios (urban, agricultural, wetland) to investigate how eutrophication is affected by land use. By tracing the movement of “pollutants” through their models, students evaluate the connection between land-use and pollution entering the groundwater.
  • Mysteries in the Mud (biomarkers in sedimentary deposits) by Christina Pondell (Earth science; Grade 9)
    A hands-on simulation in which student teams compete to win a contract as geological researchers for a major corporation.  They draw cores from sedimentary deposits (basins of sand) and determine the relative ratio of different biomarkers (marbles), “chemical fossils” that leached from living organisms and now serve as clues to what type of ancient environment left the deposit.  Integrates simple math and mimics real geological “detective work.”
  • Sea Level Rise in Coastal Virginia by Sam Lake (Earth, environmental and marine sciences; Grades 8-12)
    Through a PowerPoint, demonstrations, video clips, and a hands-on investigation, this lesson explores global, regional, and local processes driving sea level rise (SLR) in coastal Virginia. Topics include effects of ocean heat content, glacial melting, isostatic rebound, subsidence, groundwater removal, wetland decomposition, and comet impact crater.  In the hands-on activity, students cut out maps to calculate the surface area of Virginia Beach that would be inundated under 3 SLR scenarios.  They then propose mitigation strategies, present them to the class, and learn what local and international groups are doing.

Registration is limited to 60 participants. Don't delay, register now!

Questions? Contact:

Carol Hopper Brill


Lisa Ayers Lawrence