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The EcoScienceWorks Project

August 29, 2006

The EcoScienceWorks Project continues to move along, with a few key objectives met over the summer. Kieve once again played host for one of two project work weeks, this time at the Kennedy Learning Center. Twenty-three Maine middle school teachers and five Audubon scientists/educators were tasked with developing five ecology-based curricular units along with field exercises to accompany each unit.

The Leadership School's Bob Grant, Kim Schauman, John Marchelletta and Alyssa Rosen facilitated teambuilding challenges throughout the week. Teambuilding initiatives allowed participants to get to know one another in a different setting, to build trust, and to improve communication, which according to co-director Dr.Walt Allan "is essential with twenty-three teachers, five Audubon educators, and SimBiotic Software Ph.D.'s all needing to have some input" during this collaborative work.

On the Monday following their week at Kieve, EcoScienceWorks teachers began five days of curriculum testing at Hog Island with thirteen incoming 8th grade students. Students loved the experiential nature of the units as well as how challenging they were. They reported that the experience increased their science and technology skills, and made them more curious about science in general.

EcoScienceWorks is a three year project that seeks to "provide middle school students with an understanding of how IT skills and tools can be used to identify, investigate, and model possible solutions to scientific problems". The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.35 million to the Foundation for Blood Research (FBR), a non-profit biomedical research facility in Scarborough, to develop this program.

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