The Lizard Project: Why scientists and teachers should work together for science outreach

My high school students recently did something that rarely happens in a science classroom they did science. Although, inquiry based instruction has long been a science education buzz phrase, all too often when kids engage in developing experiments, the answers are in fact already known to science and could be discovered through a quick Google search on the topic, says a contributor to Scientific American. This is not exactly real science. The very nature of science is to ask questions with unknown answers and produce high quality evidence to help us better understand our world. My students took a very specific question with an unknown answer and made a small, but real contribution to what is known about life on our planet. The results of our work, Maternally chosen nest sites positively affect multiple components of offspring fitness in a lizard appeared in the journal Behavioral Ecology yesterday. This type of science rarely happens at the high school level. It certainly isn t expected to happen in an urban high school like Thomas Kelly High School on Chicago s southwest side, where more than 90% of the students are designated as low income and gang violence is a harsh reality in the surrounding neighborhoods…

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