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Project USA
Project USA  Informal Science Pathway
Using STEM America (USA) was a two-year project funded by the National Science Foundation.  It uses informal STEM learning opportunities to improve science literacy amoung students in Imperial County.  Student 7th-12th researched, planned, constructed, and tested science displays which focused on theory interesting to them.
The talented personnel at the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program wrote this grant, organized the various partnerships, conducted planning, and managed the grant.
Valuable inservice (training) was conducted by UCSD staff that helped teachers consider the needs of English Language Learners.  In addition, UCSD staff organized field trips to informal science museums for teacher and student participants.
The Reuben H Fleet Science Center offered training for teachers that included an "insider view" of the creative processes behind displays.  In addition, Fleet hosted participaing students for a field trip.
The Jacobs School provided training for teachers and installed a solar energy micro-grid observatory at IVDZ.
The Natural History Museum gave participating teachers a very clear view of the process of bringing a science display to life - from inception of idea to delivery of product.
IVDZ is the beneficiary of all this hard work.  When 7th-12th grade students complete their exhibits, the exhibits are used to support inquiry instruction at IVDZ.  Students develop these informal science exhibits and present information to younger students and the community.  In addition, Project USA has helped motivate students to participate as High School Explainers (HSE's) for the Discovery Zone, this is the backbone of our project.
Students participating followed the "do it yourself" (with support) mantra and learned the "why" as part of the process.
For complete information on this grant's data, instructional model, findings and details surrounding creation of exhibits and dissemination of findings, please contact Dan Gibbs at dangibbs@imperialusd.org.
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