Last school year, we inspired 9,258 students from all corners of our state, who investigated the interconnections between five key species (lobster, cod, copepod, herring, and humans) at our Cohen Center for Interactive Learning. Visiting an interactive research laboratory on the working waterfront motivates students in many different ways: to learn more now, to aspire to higher ambitions in the future, and to consider the impact of their actions as stewards and as future voters.
A Powerful Experience for Students
We have found a wealth of actionable data by asking students directly what they think of LabVenture!. After each station, we asked students to respond to an evaluative question using ‘clickers’ to provide anonymous feedback. In the past, this has helped us adjust station activities to better engage students and meet learning goals. This year, we wanted to discover how the experience altered students’ interest in science. The results in the bar graphs above showed a strong positive impact. 93% of students surveyed said the station changed their view of what scientists do. 93% of students said their station helped them like science more, and 94% wanted to try another science activity as a result of their experience. The students also let us know that our stations are highly effective in delivering content, with 66% saying they learned a whole lot and 28% saying they learned a little from the activities.
After LabVenture!, I decided that I want to be a scientist much more than before because I know how scientists collect data in different ways.”
LabVenture! by the Numbers
|Schools served||158 (see them all here)|
|Sponsors||54 (full list here)|
|Farthest round trip||642 miles traveled by Limestone Community School and New Sweden Consolidated School|
|Images/videos taken by students||68,952|
|Visits to website||11,959|
A Valuable Support for Teachers
Every teacher whose class attended LabVenture! received access to a suite of online curricular materials and activities to engage their students back in the classroom. They also received a classroom copy of our Diving Deeper activity cards to help students continue to make connections and explore the complex systems in our oceans. We received consistent feedback that the rich variety of extending activities is truly valuable for time-strapped teachers looking for accurate, engaging classroom materials.
While their students went through LabVenture!, teachers were encouraged to use the opportunity to observe their students and reflect on how to bring this style of learning back to their classroom. We offered an online tool to guide that reflection. Teachers let us know that the opportunity to step back and simply watch helped them better understand individual students’ learning styles and processes:
I love how hands-on these activities are. The kids also get to express their theories and genuine thoughts without being told they're wrong - great to see their brains work, not just trying to get the correct answer.”
Before the start of the school year, we hosted 22 science and math teachers for a day-long professional development institute. They learned more about the intention and learning outcomes behind LabVenture!’s design and gained insights on how to better extend these approaches back at school. Teachers also worked together to plan for incorporating best practices and learning standards (such as Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards) more deeply within their existing lesson plans. 94% of participants responding to our feedback survey shared that they were more prepared to include our curriculum and best practices in their classrooms.
We hear daily from kids that their time at GMRI was something they will remember as they continue to grow in their roles as our next generation. We’re honored to be supporting our future voters, scientists, fishermen, artists, leaders, and residents. This quote from a student eloquently summarizes why this program matters, not just for student learning now, but for our state’s future:
I think you guys are super cool scientists and you made me want to learn a lot more about sea life and how it adapts to climate and weather changes. Ever since I visited I've been even more interested and fascinated in how humans are affecting marine and land wildlife!”