“A” is for “April Institute” and for “Asking Questions”
- Twenty educators representing Maine elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and a 4-H program and 3 Vital Signs Educator Leaders arrived at GMRI on Friday, April 6, ready to learn about and participate in Vital Signs.
We started the day with a welcome from Alan Lishness, GMRI’s Chief Innovation Officer. Alan concluded his welcome remarks by encouraging our participants to ask questions, “Here at GMRI we love questions!” What a great tone to set for our two days that were full of curiosity, experimentation, investigation, and reflection.
Here is a sampling of some of the questions that we explored in the two days.
Question 1 – We teamed up with Portland Trails to investigate the question, “Have the Fall 2011 management efforts of Portland Trails staff and students successfully reduced the presence of these invasives (Multiflora rose, Oriental bittersweet, and invasive honeysuckle) in the Fore River Sanctuary?” Check out the data we collected by going to Explore Data and searching for data from 04/06/12 to 04/07/12.
Question 2 – Educators were asked to think about what great data looks like, how they can help their students generate great data, and when their students will do best by learning on their own. You can read their thoughts in the Educator Forum, “Quest for Quality Data”.
Question 3 – We recognize that teachers are each other’s most valuable teachers. For that reason, we posed the question, “How will participation by Vital Signs Educator Leaders impact participant learning during the institute and implementation after the institute?” We were so excited to investigate this idea with our first set of Educator Leaders, Pat Parent from Massabesic Middle School, Rhonda Tate from Dedham School, and Helen Sprague from Narraguagus High School. So far participants point to their interactions and opportunities to learn from the Educator Leaders as one of the most valuable aspects of the 2 days! We have more Vital Signs Educator Leaders excited to share their expertise and experiences, and we can’t wait to get them involved.
If you’re interested in learning more about Vital Signs or have a colleague who is, check out the MSSM STEM Collaborative Educator’s Camp where Vital Signs Educator Leaders will be teaching a course on Vital Signs from July 22-28. You can also jump right in on your own. Check out How to Get Started and get advice for new-to-VS educators from our Educator Leaders: