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EcoScienceWorks at the Kennedy Learning Center

February 15, 2007

The Kennedy Learning Center again played host to EcoScienceWorks, this time over Superbowl weekend. A federally-funded grant project, EcoScienceWorks aims to produce interactive, hands-on science curriculum for Maine?s middle school students that utilizes the advanced technology now accessible to Maine?s students through its Laptop Initiative. The overall purpose of the project is to encourage student interest in writing computer models and pursuing science as career choices.

Kieve-Wavus?s role in the EcoScienceWorks project has been to serve as a bi-annual host for twenty-five Maine teachers, their Audubon counterparts, and project leaders from the Scarborough-based Foundation for Blood Research. The Leadership School?s Jillian Debusk facilitated two teambuilding activities designed to fortify a spirit of adventure among group members, since adventure and innovation is really at the heart of the EcoScienceWorks project.

What is the most significant outcome of the work so far? Dr. Walt Allan, project co-chair said ?based on feedback from both students and teachers who this Fall tested the newly developed EcoBeaker Maine Explorer program, the signature product of this collaboration, the new program and curriculum does a really good job of getting students hooked, and teaching them that there are such things as computer models . . . and that you can use models to explore phenomenon in the natural world?. Teachers also reported that out of all their projects, about 90% of students were most excited to show their parents the Explorer program during student-led parent conferences.

What is next for EcoScienceWorks? The projects? twenty-five teachers will be introducing their middle-school students to GPS and GIS this Spring. Then, over the summer, teachers will focus on developing a simple, usable approach students can use to write computer modules. This work will again take place both at Kieve?s Kennedy Learning Center and at Maine Audubon?s Hog Island in nearby Bremen, Maine.

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