Author:
Gabrielle Vance
Subject:
Biology, Geology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Grade:
9, 10, 11, 12
Tags:
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Remote Sensing
  • Technology
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)

    Overview

    BRIGHT Girls was a project to build broader participation in the sciences, led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and funded by the National Science Foundation. We sought to increase students' motivation and capacity to pursue careers in STEM by engaging them in studies of nearby natural environments. The developed lesson plans may be used in formal or informal educational settings, e.g., in a summer academy or across multiple class periods. These investigations help students explore the relationships among life history and ecosystems, connecting biology to geology and remote sensing.

    About the BRIGHT Girls project

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)

    About the BRIGHT Girls project
    BRIGHT Girls was a project to build broader participation in the sciences, led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and funded by the National Science Foundation. We sought to increase students' motivation and capacity to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging Alaskan high school girls in studies of nearby natural environments.

    We implemented an out-of-school program, consisting of a free 10-day summer academy and a series of Saturday events during the school year, in both Fairbanks and Juneau, Alaska. In both locations, the same program structure built on students’ general interest in biology and the natural environment to frame interdisciplinary studies of ecosystem and geophysical dynamics, using technologies like remote sensing to study impacts of environmental change. We designed BRIGHT Girls to leverage professional STEM role models and real-world research problems to promote science identity in an out-of-school, place-based learning environment.

    We focused on the life history and ecosystems of harbor seals in Juneau and salmon in Fairbanks.  Both animals are familiar and culturally significant to participants. During the summer academy, participants generated research questions, conducted research projects, synthesized their observations and results, and presented their findings to the public. During these activities, participants heard from local female scientists, and worked alongside female undergraduate and graduate science majors to use scientific instruments to take measurements and conduct analyses. During the school year following the academy, students explored environmental change scenarios; impacts of temperature variations on habitat variation; and career tracks with STEM professionals.

    The goals of the project were to:

    • increase the intent of Alaskan girls to enter STEM careers
    • increase interest in the geosciences and technology among Alaskan girls
    • increase Alaskan girls' actual and perceived STEM competencies.

    Recruitment of participants focused on schools and districts having high proportions of indigenous students, economically disadvantaged students, or students representing other minority groups. While the project has concluded, we share the curriculum we developed for use in other communities.

    A guide to implementing the BRIGHT program
    The developed lesson plans may be used in formal or informal educational settings, e.g., in a summer academy or across multiple class periods. These investigations help students explore the relationships among life history and ecosystems, connecting biology to geology and remote sensing. To implement a BRIGHT program:

    • choose a field area and animal of interest, e.g., salmon in the Chena River (river habitat), seals in Tracy Arm (tidewater glacier and fjord habitat)
    • obtain scientific instruments, if possible, e.g., GPS units, thermometers
    • seek instructors, role models, and mentors from diverse backgrounds.

    The following table shows a possible sequence of investigations. Teal cells are classroom activities, while yellow are field experiences, which also include using scientific instruments to collect data.

    Geocaching
    Science notebooks
    Evaluating evidenceCreative technologyInterpreting satellite imagery
    Stop motion animationData visualizationLandscape change detectionObservational drawing
    Dissection
    Futurecasting
    Develop research question
    Conduct researchAnalyze data
    Present research
    STEM speed mentoring

    Methods for fostering engagement in science (http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Kit1-ALL_3-2017.pdf)

    Engagement in science practice
    Young children engage in core science practices naturally. They make observations and test and revise predictions as they seek to understand how the world around them works. However, research has demonstrated that common classroom practices include presenting science primarily as facts to be memorized and strict procedures to follow. When science is presented in this way,  students can lose sight of their own capacity to question the world around them, test their ideas, and share their discoveries. Many students, especially girls and people from nondominant groups, start to view science as rote, passionless, and uncreative. Students who have difficulty memorizing and repeating facts, or making connections to complex systems that do not feel relevant to their daily lives, begin to disengage from science. BRIGHT investigations help students develop familiarity with the practices and tools of scientific inquiry. 

    BRIGHT instructional method
    We advocate for a STEM approach that focuses on open outcomes and values student ideas and expression. Foundational practices that promote identification with science include using real science tools and practices and connecting science to everyday life.

    Give students choices when possible. A sense of agency can increase identification with science.

    Accept student responses as value-neutral.

    Ask questions and encourage discussion and reflection.

    Connect activities to everyday practices and student-relevant ideas.

    Guiding discussion and reflection
    Establish an environment that encourages imaginative speculation. If students are conditioned to only “take things seriously” during class time, they might not be comfortable offering the creative or humorous answers generated by divergent thinking.

    During the BRIGHT investigations, instructors should continue asking questions to lead the discussion beyond answers that students believe are “correct” or that they think the instructor expects to hear. Instructors should contribute their own playful ideas and follow up with questions that elicit deeper analysis.

    Asking questions to deepen engagement
    Each BRIGHT investigation provides specific discussion questions integrated with the steps of the activity, shown in italics for quick reference. Throughout the activity, the instructor should use open-ended questions to guide observation, encourage experimentation, and prompt reflection.

    Questions should aim to:

    Expand upon an idea: 

    What else could you do with this? ...could this be for? ...could this mean?

    Draw attention to specific details: 

    What do you see? What texture, color, pattern? What is different/similar between this and that?

    Encourage synthesis with existing knowledge:

    What does this remind you of? Where have you seen something like this before?


    Extension: science notebooks 30 minutes (http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Kit1-ALL_3-2017.pdf)

    Keeping a notebook is a common practice in science. The notebook is a place to keep track of ideas, observations, measurements, sketches and other information. It is a space for informal musings and reflections alongside notes and data recorded for later reference. Each investigation in the BRIGHT program includes suggestions on how to incorporate the notebook into the lesson.

    Notebooks can be incorporated into other classroom activities beyond these investigations, providing a private space for students to reflect on what they are learning and develop their ideas.

    Materials

    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student
    • Writing and drawing tools (pens, pencils, etc.), assorted
    • Glue sticks, 1 per student

    Introduction
    Discuss:

    Why might scientists keep notebooks?

    Some examples include, but are not limited to:

    • observe a subject more closely
    • record observations when other methods not possible or available at the time
    • capture additional information such as measurements, notes, other observations
    • keep a record of what was done, how data was collected
    • think through and work out ideas and designs on paper before trying them in real life.

    Prepare notebooks for use
    Have students write their names and contact information on the inside cover of their notebooks, so misplaced ones can be returned to their owners when found. Discuss:

    What other information might be important to include in our notebooks?

    Some examples include, but are not limited to:

    • page numbers
    • page titles
    • table of contents
    • dates of entries or observations
    • measurements
    • photos or other materials that can be glued in.

    Other resources
    Field notebooks: https://www.whitman.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/geology/geology-faculty-and-staff/robert-carson/academic-aids/field-notebooks

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

     

    Investigation 1: Geocaching

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 1: Geocaching

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 1 hour, 40 minutes

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
    • New technologies advance scientific knowledge.
    • Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World
    • Modern civilization depends on major technological systems, such as agriculture, health, water, energy, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and communications.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity 
    • Some systems can only be studied indirectly as they are too small, too large, too fast, or too slow to observe directly.
    Science is a Human Endeavor
    • Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and science has influenced advances in technology.
    • Science and engineering are influenced by society and society is influenced by science and engineering.

    Overview
    Students gain experience with GPS technology using scientific tools: GPS units or GPS-enabled mobile devices. In small groups, students use GPS to navigate to geocache locations.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • collect data with scientific instruments.
    • navigate using a geolocation device.
    • engage in collaborative group work.

    Instructional approach
    Geocaching builds students’ locational awareness while using scientific instrumentation for a fun purpose. Encourage students to consider:

    Where are we? What is here? How do we detect it?

    How does remote sensing help identify a location and its attributes?

    The instructor should ensure that students use the tools themselves, and should accept all student responses as value-neutral.

    Science background  (https://www.geocaching.com/guide/)
    Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt, using GPS-enabled devices to navigate to GPS coordinates corresponding to the locations of containers called geocaches. A Juneau geocaching enthusiast described it as “using millions of dollars of satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.”

    GPS-enabled devices are computers that receive signals broadcast from GPS satellites. They give an approximate location on Earth, usually in latitude and longitude coordinates, and can be used to navigate from one location to another. GPS devices calculate their locations using trilateration (see figure below), which requires signals from at least three satellites at a time; four satellite signals provide a more accurate position.

    GPS satellite trilateration: “GPS satellites broadcast signals as a sphere. Each satellite is at the center of a sphere. Where all spheres intersect determines the position of the GPS receiver.” (https://gisgeography.com/trilateration-triangulation-gps/)

    Materials

    • GPS units, manuals, and extra batteries or GPS-enabled mobile devices with Geocaching app, 1 per group of 3-4 students
    • Geocaches (plastic containers of prizes) or preexisting geocaches, 1 per group
    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per group
    • Pencils
    • Optional: printed maps of geocache locations, 1 per group

    Setup
    1. Obtain GPS units, manuals, and extra batteries/chargers or register for a Geocaching.com membership and install the Geocaching app on a GPS-enabled mobile device.

    2. Assemble and hide geocaches and note the coordinates, or determine locations of preexisting geocaches using the Geocaching app.

    3. Optional: develop maps showing the approximate distribution and locations of geocaches, e.g., on a Google Earth satellite image. Print a copy for each group.

    4. Charge GPS units or GPS-enabled mobile devices.

    Introduction 10 minutes
    Invite students to consider:

    Where are we? How do we know?

    What is here? How do we detect it?

    Students may discuss questions with a partner before sharing with the entire group. Prompt them to give examples from their own experience:

    Has anyone heard of GPS before? What does it stand for? (Global Positioning System)

    Has anyone used GPS before? If so, how?

    Address the military origins of GPS technology (https://www.gps.gov/systems/gps/) and its availability to civilians and scientists:

    How does GPS work?

    How might scientists use GPS?

    Investigation 1.5 hours
    1. Divide students into groups of three or four. Pass out GPS units or GPS-enabled mobile devices to each group and demonstrate the steps necessary to:

    GPS unitsGPS-enabled mobile devices
    • enter geocache coordinates
    • use navigation mode
    • create a waypoint
    • use the Geocaching app to navigate to a geocache

    Have the student who learns first teach the next member of their group and that person teach the next person (and so on).

    2. Give each group a Rite in the Rain notebook (and an optional paper map). Each group member should have a responsibility (recording coordinates of geocaches and waypoints, operating the GPS unit, navigating using the paper map). Tell the students to take a waypoint when they find a geocache.  They can also take waypoints of interesting features along the way to revisit in Google Earth.

    3. Encourage students to look around, take photos, and note what they see at each geocache location, to ensure they can recognize it in the future (as instruments’ accuracy may vary, and it can be hard to recall details once back from the field).

    4. Give students the chance to find multiple geocaches and switch roles within their groups. Ask:

    What role did you prefer (recording, operating, navigating)? Why?

    Did your process change from finding the first to the second geocache? How?

    Geocache locations on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Map by Lisa Wirth

    Extension 30 minutes
    Materials

    • Computers with Google Earth Pro (free), 1 per pair of students

    1. Give a brief introduction to Google Earth with an activity that shows some of the Google Earth Oddities. Students enter the following coordinates and navigate to an odd thing on the landscape as seen from space.  Instructors help pairs of students at each computer.

    32.149593, -110.835905

    38.484775, -109.679840

    2. Students use Google Earth to plot the coordinates of the geocaches they found and the waypoints they took on a satellite image. Encourage them to measure the approximate distance they traveled using the ruler tool. 

    Other possible extensions include students making geocaches and hiding them for each other and using radio telemetry equipment, if available, to complement geocaching.

    Using Google Earth for the first time as a group is a good opportunity to discuss the history of remote sensing briefly, e.g., aerial photography using kites and pigeons.

    Kite aerial photography: http://kap.ced.berkeley.edu/background/history1.html
    Pigeon aerial photography: http://mentalfloss.com/article/55081/spy-pigeons-and-other-great-moments-history-aerial-photography

    Other resources
    Geocaching: https://www.geocaching.com/guide/
    GPS: https://www.gps.gov/systems/gps/
    Trilateration: https://gisgeography.com/trilateration-triangulation-gps/

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Investigation 2: Evaluating evidence

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 2: Evaluating evidence

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 1.5 hours

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    • Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Earth and Space Science
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
    • ESS2.E: Biogeology
    • The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Science is a Way of Knowing
    • Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing through use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skeptical review.

    Overview
    Students engage in a short game-like exercise to evaluate the trustworthiness of sources. Based on the ideas generated during that exercise, the group compiles a list of criteria or questions used to evaluate claims and sources.

    Students use the list of questions while doing small group research. They have a short amount of time to answer a question and develop a short presentation on the topic for the group. Students reflect on their process of sifting through online material to answer research questions and generate new questions.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • identify criteria to determine whether sources or claims are trustworthy.
    • apply criteria and questioning techniques to evaluate sources of information online.
    • develop a visual presentation and present it to peers.

    Instructional approach
    The instructor should establish a safe, collaborative, and value-neutral space to share ideas, and assist students in doing so. Evaluating the strength of evidence or trustworthiness of sources can be controversial; emphasize objectivity and value-neutral feedback for self and others. There is not one correct ranking of trustworthiness; different responses may prompt questions, discussion, and feedback.

    Materials

    • Sets of source sticky notes, 1 per group of 3 students
    • Copies of Can You Believe It?, 1 per student
    • Computers, 1 per group

    Setup
    1. Ensure computers have access to internet and Google Sheets or Powerpoint.

    2. Make a set of source sticky notes for each group of three students. On each sticky note, write one of the following sources: Wikipedia, parent, politician, personal observations, science textbook, scientist who has been studying a subject for 20 years, government website.

    3. Make copies of Can You Believe It? http://annex.exploratorium.edu/evidence/assets/seven_questions/Can_You_Believe_It.pdf

    Investigation 1.5 hours
    Evaluating evidence 45 minutes
    1. Share a funny example of fake news, e.g., http://www.sciencealert.com/no-that-s-not-actually-a-photo-of-a-beluga-whale-and-a-seal-hugging; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/06/28/a-seal-didnt-hug-a-beluga-whale-but-we-all-wanted-to-believe/?utm_term=.6895d825abc7.

    Ask students:

    How can we determine whether a source is trustworthy?

    2. Tell students that not all evidence is created equal and we are going to brainstorm our own criteria for evaluating the strength of evidence.

    3. Divide students into groups of three and pass out a set of sticky notes to each group (one source is written on each sticky note, including Wikipedia, parent, politician, personal observations, science textbook, scientist who has been studying a subject for 20 years, government website). Prompt students to rank the sources from least to most trustworthy.

    Sources ranked

    Student ranking of sources, from most trustworthy (top) to least (bottom). Photo by Suzanne Perin

    4. When they have finished ranking, ask groups to compare their order to those of other groups. If differences arise, ask students to explain their reasoning. As a large group, brainstorm and record a list of questions that arose or criteria that emerged.

    5. Ask students:

    Do you rely on Wikipedia for information?

    What kinds of search results do you get when you Google “Wikipedia accuracy”?

    How could we determine whether to trust the findings from these studies?

    6. Pass out the Exploratorium’s Can You Believe It? sheet with seven helpful questions for evaluating evidence (which folds into a booklet for students to keep). Remind students that it is always important to question and bring a critical eye to evidence. Because we are all non-experts in something, these questions can be a helpful starting point when researching new topics. Compare the seven questions below with those generated by the group previously.

    What’s the claim?

    Who says?

    What’s the evidence?

    How did they get the evidence?

    Is there anything (or anyone) to back up the claim?

    Could there be another explanation?

    Who cares?

    Can you believe it?

    Research and presentations 45 minutes
    1. Divide students into groups of four. Each group gets a biogeological topic to research using online resources.

    Example research topics and questions

    • Life cycle or annual cycle stages, and associated habitats, of a species of interest
    • What do ___ do during each stage, and in what habitats (define each stage and consider associated constraints and adaptations)?
    • What challenges do they face? What adaptations do they need to do so?
    • What do ___ eat? (and how do we know?)
    • What eats ___? (and how do we know?)
    • Adaptations and habitat of a species of interest
    • What are characteristics of ___ environments and what adaptations make ___ well-suited to these environments?
    • How might habitat loss or change occur and how are ___ affected?
    • How are ___ populations doing in ___?
    • How might climate change impact ___?

    2. Let students know that they will have twenty minutes to research and develop a five-minute, five-slide presentation using Google Sheets or Powerpoint. Remind them that, although they will work quickly, they need to keep the criteria for evaluating evidence in mind. If they are unsure of a source, encourage them to ask each other or instructors whether they know anything about that particular source. Ask them to acknowledge their sources of information in their presentations.

    3. When each group presents, encourage the audience to ask constructive follow-up questions of their peers; instructors should wait to ask questions until students have done so first. Facilitate questions and answers to clarify or extend content covered in the presentations. Prompt each group to reflect on the sources of information used during the research process.

    Where and how did you start the research process?

    Were there sources you rejected? Why?

    What sources did you end up using and why did they appear to be trustworthy?

    Extension 30 minutes
    1. Give groups more time to discuss their rankings with each other; how did they differ and why?

    2. Students use the criteria developed in this investigation to research news coverage (national, state, local) related to a species and habitat of interest (e.g., salmon in the Chena River or seals in Tracy Arm, Alaska). Ask students to spend 15 minutes researching news coverage of the species and habitat in their table groups.

    What kinds of topics related to ___ do news outlets cover?

    Who is concerned about ___ or ___ habitat and what kinds of concerns do they have?

    How are ___ populations doing this year?

    What are concerns relevant to people in ___?

    3. Ask students to leverage what they know (and may have just read) about the locality of interest to consider whether it is a healthy habitat for the species.

    What habitat characteristics are important to ___ at different life history stages?

    What kinds of human impacts might influence the habitat over short and long timescales?

    How could we evaluate ecosystem health? What variables could we observe and measure in the habitat?

    What questions are scientists asking about ___ and their habitats?

    4. In groups, students draw diagrams connecting  life history stages to habitat characteristics. Small groups then share their diagrams with the larger group.

    Other resources
    Can You Believe It?: https://www.exploratorium.edu/blogs/spectrum/can-you-believe-it
    http://annex.exploratorium.edu/evidence/

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Investigation 3: Creative technology

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 3: Creative technology

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 30 minutes

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    • Define a design problem that involves the development of a process or system with interacting components and criteria and constraints that may include social, technical and/or environmental considerations.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Engineering, Technology, and the Application of Science
    • ETS1 Engineering Design
    • ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution
    • Criteria may need to be broken down into simpler ones that can be approached systematically, and decisions about the priority of certain criteria over others (tradeoffs) may be needed.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Science is a Human Endeavor
    • Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.

    Overview
    Using found objects, students develop creative ways to collect data of interest.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • create scientific instruments to collect data.

    Instructional approach
    By brainstorming and designing their own creative technologies, students experience the iterative process of drafting an idea, testing, and making revisions. Ideally, students feel ownership of data they have collected, and creative agency as they make choices about how to develop a technology to collect it. The instructor should accept all student responses as value-neutral, and encourage specific feedback (e.g., what was effective or ineffective, and why).

    Materials

    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student
    • Other materials depending on lesson focus (e.g., rulers, tapes, string, etc.--see below)

    Setup
    Scout an outdoor field site with abundant natural materials for the purpose of conducting  the investigation described below. Consider if you will provide students with supplementary materials like duct tape, cord, etc., or encourage them to use only what they can find in their immediate environment.

    Investigation 30 minutes
    1. Give students the challenge prompt: in the next thirty minutes, come up with something to measure and how to measure it with materials at hand in our immediate environment.

    2. Pairs or groups of students brainstorm, build, and test their creative technologies, and share them with each other if time allows. Instructors may limit students to natural materials only, or allow them to incorporate supplementary materials.

    Examples of students’ creative technologies:

    • Tying a rock to the end of a tape measure or string to measure river depth
    • Using a stick to measure river’s maximum height (in units of students’ height)
    • Combining paper and a stick to form a rudimentary wind vane
    • Floating objects to measure current

    Depth measurement rock on a string, developed and photographed by Kendall, Cassandra, and Bonnie.

    3. Discuss the importance of creative problem-solving in general, and in science in particular. Ask students:

    What tradeoffs did you make in developing your creative technology?

    If you had more time, what would you change about your design?

    What are other creative solutions you have come up with, and in what context?

    Extensions
    Notebooks
    10 minutes
    Have students write about their experiences in their notebooks. Students should document the procedures they used, their observations, the results of their experiments, and further questions they would like to explore.

    Incorporating instruments 15 minutes
    If students are working with scientific instruments, they can also incorporate them into their creative technologies, for example, the rock on a string shown above also has a place where students could insert a thermometer to record water temperature at different depths.

    Design and refine 30-60 minutes (http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/K-3-All.pdf )
    This extension gives students the opportunity to explore design as an iterative process of evaluating and refining solutions to a problem. Students create variations on their creative technology in order to optimize their design.

    1. After evaluating their first pieces of creative technology, have students make a note of what worked and what could be improved.

    2. Now, let students know they will be creating a new design based on their analysis of their first one.

    3. Have students gather new or additional materials and create another piece of technology.

    4. When finished, have students demonstrate and describe their two pieces of technology in small groups. Have the groups respond:

    Does one measure more effectively than the other?

    What, specifically, makes it more effective?

    Based on what works, how could this design be improved further?

    5. If time allows, students can create another iteration of their technology, incorporating ideas from their peers and their own reflection to improve their designs.

    6. As a whole group, have students share what they discovered in the process of refining their designs.

    What changed about your design from the first to the second or third iteration?

    What did you discover in this design process that could be applied to designing a different piece of creative technology (e.g., to measure something else, in a different environment)?

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

     

    Investigation 4: Interpreting satellite imagery

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 4: Interpreting satellite imagery

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 2 hours

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods

    • New technologies advance scientific knowledge.

    • Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World 

    • Modern civilization depends on major technological systems, such as agriculture, health, water, energy, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and communications. 

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity 

    • Some systems can only be studied indirectly as they are too small, too large, too fast, or too slow to observe directly. 

    Patterns

    • Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

    Overview
    Students use Google Earth to interpret satellite imagery of an area of interest, ideally prior to field exploration.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • interpret satellite images.

    • identify features for further field research. 

    Instructional approach
    Engage students by asking them to share their own prior knowledge of satellite imagery and experience with the field area of interest. Connect to students’ lives by looking up images of familiar locations.

    Science background
    Google Earth Pro
    Google Earth Pro is a free program that offers satellite imagery of our planet (as opposed to Google Mars, Google Moon, and Google Sky). The instructor should practice navigating Google Earth and using its tools prior to the investigation. 

    Interpreting satellite imagery (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/ColorImage)
    Scientists at NASA’s Earth Observatory recommend the following tips for interpreting satellite imagery, with which students will gain experience over the course of this investigation.  

    • Look for a scale

    • Look for patterns, shapes, and textures

    • Define colors 

    • Find north

    • Consider prior knowledge

    Look for a scale
    Google Earth Pro’s image scale varies due to the dynamic zoom feature. In addition to looking for clues to scale in their particular view, students can turn a Scale Legend on and off (in the View menu).
    Look for patterns, shapes, and textures
    Identify key features in a satellite image by matching patterns, shapes, and textures to those of maps (e.g., bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans). In contrast to the randomness characteristic of natural features, human land use results in identifiable patterns, like geometric shapes (circles, rectangles, squares) from farming and logging, or straight lines (e.g., roads, canals, and land use boundaries). Geological features like faults can also show up as straight lines in satellite images, while volcanoes and craters can be circular and mountain ranges may look like wrinkles. 

    Define colors
    Satellite instruments measure different kinds of light, which affects the colors of satellite imagery. True-color images use red, green, and blue wavelengths of visible light; their colors are similar to what one would expect to see from space (see table below). False-color images use infrared light, resulting in unexpected colors like red vegetation. Google Earth uses true-color imagery. 

    Feature type

    Common colors

    Example reasons for variation

    Water

    Black, blue, brown, green, gray

    Depth, suspended sediment, light reflection

    Ice, snow

    White, gray, blue

    Debris cover

    Plants

    Varying shades of green, red, orange, yellow, brown

    Vegetation type, season

    Bare ground

    Brown, tan, red, white, gray, black

    Mineral content of soil, fires

    Cities

    Silver, gray, brown, red

    Building materials

    Atmosphere

    White, gray, brown, black, tan

    Source: clouds, fog, smoke, haze, dust, ash

    Find north
    If students know which way is north, they can determine the orientation of other features like mountain ranges, which they can then match to a map. Google Earth Pro’s default orientation is north up. The compass feature adjusts as students change their view, so they can always tell which way is north. 

    Consider prior knowledge
    What do students already know about an area, that they can connect to what satellite imagery shows? 

    Materials

    • Computers with Google Earth Pro (free), 1 per pair of students

    • Projector

    • Easel paper pad 

    • Markers, at least 1 per pair of students

    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student

    Setup
    1. Install Google Earth Pro (free) on all computers.

    2. Choose a nearby field area, e.g., a habitat for a species of interest. Ideally, Google Earth exploration will precede a field trip.

    3. Navigate to the area of interest in Google Earth. Consider how you will ask students to find it (e.g., will they search by place name or latitude and longitude?). Note features that students may wish to investigate further in the field.

    4. Project Google Earth and/or student instructions, if desired.

    Investigation 2 hours
    Orientation 30 minutes
    1. Have students work in pairs to open Google Earth. Encourage them to find familiar and/or favorite places, e.g., lakes, mountains, parks, rivers, schools, and trails.

    2. While students are working with their partners to find the locations they have chosen, review and demonstrate, or ask a student volunteer to demonstrate, navigation in Google Earth: 

    • zooming in and out

    • switching from map view to street view and back

    • adjusting vertical exaggeration

    • changing imagery date

    • using ruler tool

    • making placemarks

    • turning photos layer on and off

      • photos may be helpful for identifying features or viewing them from additional perspectives

      • discuss possible issues with user-submitted photos, e.g., locations may be inaccurate.

    3. Ask pairs of students to share with other pairs:

    Where did you go? Why?
    How much did you zoom in?
    What level of detail were you able to detect?

    How can you get  a sense of scale in a particular view?

    4. Start a list of helpful tips for interpreting satellite imagery, posted in a prominent spot. Ask a volunteer to add “look for a scale” to the list.

    Interpreting satellite imagery 1.5 hours
    1. Have students navigate to the area of interest. Once there, encourage them to look for  a scale. Let students decide where they will record their satellite image interpretations (their responses to the subsequent discussion questions): in their notebooks? In Google Earth screenshots (if so, how will they save and share them)? In a shared document?

    2. Ask students:

    What else can we look for in a satellite image, besides a scale, to help us interpret it?

    Accept student responses as value-neutral. Ask a volunteer to add students’ ideas and  “look for patterns, shapes, and textures” to the list. Ask students what patterns, shapes, and textures they notice in the satellite images of the area of interest. Remind them to separate observations (e.g., a blue linear feature) from interpretations (e.g., a river).

    3. Ask a volunteer to add “Define colors” to the list. Ask students:

    Is this satellite image true- or false-color? How can you tell?
    What colors do you notice, and to what types of land cover do you think they correspond?

    4. Ask a volunteer to add “Find north” to the list.

    How can you tell which way is north in Google Earth?

    5. Ask a volunteer to add “Consider prior knowledge” to the list.

    What do you already know about this area? How does that relate to what you see in Google Earth?
    For what years does Google Earth have satellite imagery of this area? How does it change over time?

    6. Have students create and post a table of observations and interpretations next to the imagery interpretation tips list. Ask each group to add their observations about the field area and the interpretations they made from those observations (see example satellite image and table entries below).

    Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 11.13.07 PM.png

    Observations

    Interpretations

    Curving teal band

    Tidewater (fjord)

    Green areas

    Temperate rainforest

    White lines

    Freshwater (streams and waterfalls)

    White patches

    Snow, glacier ice

    Grey and brown areas

    Bare ground, rock

    Extension 30 minutes
    1. Based on their interpretations, ask students to create maps with placemarks for locations where they would like to make measurements, collect samples, and take pictures in the field.

    2. Help students save and export their maps. For example, they could take screenshots of Google Earth and save them in Google Drive. Alternatively, they could save their placemarks as a shareable KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file, which they could then save in Google Drive or email to themselves. In this way, they can reopen their placemarks in Google Earth on a different computer for later revision. For assistance with creating KML files, refer to https://helpwiki.evergreen.edu/wiki/index.php/Creating_KML_Files.

    Placemarks of sampling locations in Tracy Arm, Juneau, Alaska. Google Earth screenshot by Alayna, Kalila, and Meredith

    Other resources
    What is KML? http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/manage-data/kml/what-is-kml-.htm

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

     

    Investigation 5: Stop motion animation

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 5: Stop motion animation
    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 2 hours

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Developing and Using Models
    • Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Earth and Space Science
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
    • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
    • Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Stability and Change  
    • Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
    • Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

    Overview
    Students solidify their understanding of a field area of interest by creating stop-motion animations about it.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • produce a stop-motion animation about a field area of interest.
    • communicate about their animations.

    Instructional approach
    This investigation can take place in the field, incorporating natural materials, or in the classroom. Engage students by asking them to share their own experiences with the area of interest and with animation (particularly stop motion). Providing students opportunities to make choices based on individual preferences fosters their creative agency. The instructor should facilitate student exploration and idea development through questions and prompts that encourage experimentation with materials and techniques for communicating visually. The instructor should accept all student responses as value-neutral. 

    Science background
    Illustrations, visualizations, time-lapse photography, and animations are tools that scientists use to understand and share their work. Stop motion animation involves taking a series of photographs in which objects are moved slightly between each shot so that, when the pictures are viewed in rapid succession, the objects appear to move on their own. Specialty software programs facilitate the production of stop motion animations as one form of visual communication.

    Materials

    • Blank index cards, 5x8”, 1 per group of 2-3 students, plus extras
    • Multi-colored construction paper, 10-color pack with 240 sheets
    • Multicolor felt tipped markers, 1 pack per group
    • Manila envelopes, 1 per group
    • Glue sticks, 1 per student
    • Scissors, 1 per student
    • Pencils, 1 per student
    • Scrap paper (newspaper or copy paper, for protecting tables from glue)
    • Masking tape, 1 roll
    • iPads or other devices with camera and Stop Motion Studio App (free for iOS or Android), 1 per group
    • iPad stands or tripods (optional)
    • Projector

    Setup
    1. Install Stop Motion Studio, or desired animation application, on iPads or other devices. Decide and set up where animation files will be stored, e.g., Google Drive.

    2. Charge all devices.

    3. Cover work surface with scrap paper, securing edges with masking tape.

    Investigation 2 hours
    Introduction 15 minutes
    1. Ask students:

    Do you like animated movies? If so, what is one you have enjoyed recently?

    What different types of animation have you seen?

    What is stop motion animation? What is an example of a stop motion animated movie?

    2. Let students know that they will be designing a stop motion animation to communicate about their field area/habitat and/or species of interest (e.g., tidewater glaciers and fjords as seal habitat in Juneau, Alaska). It is important to let students select a topic that they like in order to facilitate ownership and learner control over the task.

    3. Divide students into groups of two or three (two will facilitate greater engagement in the animation process). Ask students to decide on a topic to animate (they do not have to decide on their storyline yet, just their focus). Ask each pair to share their choice with the rest of the group.

    4. Ask students to consider how a scientist who studies their field area/species might communicate their findings to other people. Collect student ideas.

    5. Show an example of stop motion animation to give students an idea of the outcome (ideally about a different topic, so as not to influence new creations): http://www.colorsofnature.org/kit-3-resources/

    6. With the time remaining, have the groups brainstorm a scenario to animate.

    Animation design and production 55 minutes minimum, but allow up to 1.5 hours if possible
    1. Divide students into their working groups (they will already have chosen a topic and brainstormed a scenario to animate).

    2. Show students an example of a simple storyboard: http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/example_storyboard.pdf. Discuss:

    How would you describe this storyboard? What elements does it have?

    Is it very detailed? Is it in color?

    How long do you think it took to make?

    3. Distribute index cards and instruct each group to make a storyboard for their animation. A storyboard is a visual outline of key moments in the animation. Have students divide the index card into a grid of 10 squares and sketch the action that will occur in each scene, like a cartoon. These do not need to be elaborate drawings, just reference points to guide the production. The final animation will be around 10 seconds long, so it’s best to keep the story simple!

    4. Circulate among groups and discuss storyboards. Encourage students to avoid very detailed scenes or numerous characters, in the interest of time.

    5. Once students complete their storyboards and discuss them with the instructor(s), have them use construction paper, scissors, and glue to create backgrounds for their scenes and the characters that will appear in the story. Students should use their storyboard as a guide to the components and characters that will be needed for each scene. Instruct them to label a manila folder with their names in which to store their characters and scenes.

    6. Demonstrate using the iPad and the Stop Motion Studio app to take pictures of scenes and characters. To animate the scene, have students move the characters across the background, taking a picture each time. Emphasize very small movements, similar to gradual changes over geologic time. Recommend taking 10 pictures of each of the 10 scenes in the series, for a total of about 100 pictures/a 10 second animation (at a rate of 10 frames per second). Share tips (students will also discover these as they go; sharing them initially can help raise the animations’ production value and avoid reshooting):

    • Try to keep the camera as flat and steady as possible.
    • Consider lighting, e.g., face a window; try not to cast shadows on the scene.
    • Press the question mark button to see labels and the in-app manual.
    • The “onion skin” slider on the left side of the screen lets one toggle between what the camera sees and the most recent picture taken, showing a transparent “ghost” of the previous image, which helps with alignment and continuity.
    • Check lighting and field of view before taking the first picture; consider filling background with large pieces of construction paper.
    • Make small movements between each picture.
    • To make an element show up for longer, e.g., a title page, take multiple pictures or pause a picture multiple times.

    7. Students use the iPads and the Stop Motion Studio app to capture each image and create the animation. (While students are often able to complete this task easily, further step-by-step instructions are available at https://www.cateater.com/support/en/stopmotion/stopmotion-main.html).

    Students can experiment with the number of scenes and number and duration (frame rate) of pictures. They may wish to create a title page with the name of the movie, animators’ first names, and a short sentence describing what the animation illustrates. Students may also wish to include a credits page.

    8. Help students export their animations as movies and save them in a designated Google Drive folder, as well as to each iPad’s camera roll as a backup (students will need to keep track of which iPad they used).

    Instructors’ note: If cameras and animation software are unavailable, students can still explore designing a graphic representation of landscape evolution by using their storyboard as the basis for creating a finished comic strip.

    Film festival Allow 5 minutes per group, if possible
    Have students share their animations and tell the class about their creative choices in representing their field area and/or species. One possibility would be to upload all animations onto the teacher’s computer (e.g., in a designated Google Drive folder) and have students present as they are shown on a projector. If a projector is not available, another option would be to divide the class in half and have one half of the class circulate to view presentations on the iPads. The class would switch roles after the first group is finished.

    Have students describe their animations and answer:

    How did you depict your chosen topic?

    What changed from your storyboard to your animation?

    What new questions do you have as a result of making your animation?

    Ask the class to give value-neutral feedback to the animators, considering:

    In what ways does the animation communicate the group’s chosen topic?

    What could be changed about this animation to communicate the topic more effectively?

    Extension
    Stop motion animation is ideal for integration with other content areas; there are numerous possible technique variations. To extend this investigation, have students create their animations at a field site, using rocks and other natural materials. They could also document their animation process, e.g., with time-lapse photography, if additional cameras are available. If time and equipment allow, students could add audio to their animations, e.g., using iMovie.

    Other variations include, but are not limited to:

    • Using everyday objects or small figurines
    • Claymation: using play dough or modeling clay
    • Pixilation: photographing people moving frame by frame (may lead to confidentiality issues if students are identifiable in photos)
    • Moving sand or cornmeal on a flat surface
    • Moving paint (mixed with glycerin to prevent drying) on a glass surface
    • Adding hinged limbs to paper cut-outs, e.g., with brass fasteners
    • Drawing on whiteboards and adding to or erasing the drawings in each frame
    • Drawing on multiple pieces of paper, e.g., using a light table, then photographing each
    • Flipbooks: flipping back and forth between two or more drawings
    • Replacement animation: swapping two or more of the same element in different positions in each photograph

    Source
    http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/K-3-All.pdf

    Other resources
    Stop Motion Studio for iOS manual: https://www.cateater.com/inapphelp/wp/en/stopmotion/
    Stop Motion Studio app tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_M468S86H
    Introduction to animation: http://onf-nfb.gc.ca/medias/download/documents/pdf/Prod_Stopmo_L2_ANG_ib_07.pdf
    Overview of technology and principles of animation: http://onf-nfb.gc.ca/medias/download/documents/pdf/Prod_Stopmo_L3_ANG_ib_06.pdf

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Investigation 6: Data visualization

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 6: Data visualization

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 2 hours

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    • Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.
    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    • Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Earth and Space Science
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
    • ESS2.E: Biogeology
    • The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Science is a Human Endeavor
    • Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.

    Overview
    Students analyze and draft visualizations of field data.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • tabulate and analyze data with Excel or Google Sheets.
    • make drafts of how to represent data visually.
    • communicate about their visualizations.

    Instructional approach
    Students’ data visualizations or “vizzies” are sketches of how they could represent their data. They experience the iterative process of drafting an idea, getting feedback, and making revisions. Ideally, students feel ownership of data they have collected, and creative agency as they make choices about how to visualize it. The instructor should accept all student responses as value-neutral, and encourage specific feedback (e.g., what was effective or ineffective, and why).

    Science background (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/vizzies-about.jsp)
    Scientists use visualizations, or “vizzies,” to communicate their findings with each other and with the public. The National Science Foundation recognizes outstanding vizzies in an annual challenge.

    Materials

    • Field instruments and manuals, if applicable
    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student
    • Computers, 1 per group
    • Markers, 1 pack per group
    • Large sticky paper easel pad
    • Small sticky notes

    Setup
    This investigation assumes that students have already gathered data and recorded it in field notebooks and/or in instruments’ memory, if applicable. Install any needed software on computers and ensure access to Excel and/or Google Sheets.

    Investigation 2 hours
    Examples 10 minutes
    Show and discuss the following examples of data visualizations. Ask students to consider how and why scientists use visualizations to understand and share their work.

    Figure by Cassidy Phillips, from Laura Oxtoby’s Ph.D. thesis defense, Carbon sources and trophic connectivity in seafloor food webs in the Alaska Arctic and sub-Arctic, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016.

    Information is Beautiful:
    http://sciencepaths.kimalbrecht.com/
    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/which-fish/
    https://www.informationisbeautifulawards.com/showcase/1753-bears-of-finland

    National Science Foundation The Vizzies Visualization Challenge:
    https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/vizzies_winners_2014-2015.jsp
    https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/images/2014/ice_ocean_l.jpg

    Data analysis 50 minutes
    1. Divide students into groups of four or five. Circulate among the groups, facilitating thinking by asking questions:

    How will you format your data table?

    Will you focus on data from a specific field site?

    2. Have students enter their field data into Excel or Google Sheets. Encourage experimentation with shortcuts, formulas, graphs, and charts as students gain familiarity with their chosen spreadsheet platform.

    3. Depending on the group and the amount of data, explore appropriate representations (e.g., dot plots, histograms, box plots, scatter plots); statistics (e.g., median, mean, and spread (interquartile range, standard deviation)); outliers; correlation coefficients and correlation vs. causation. Ask:

    What patterns do you notice?

    Accept all answers as value-neutral.

    Data visualization 1 hour
    Vizzie first draft 20 minutes
    1. Ask students to discuss the question “how could you represent your data?” with their groups.

    2. Distribute easel pad paper and markers. Have students make draft sketches of how they could represent their data.

    Vizzie review 10 minutes
    1. Have students post their draft vizzies. Distribute small sticky notes and give everyone time to circulate silently, writing and posting value-neutral feedback on sticky notes on each vizzie.

    2. If time allows, have each group gather in front of their vizzie and present it to the rest of the group. Encourage students to reflect on their choices, and the feedback they received, in a non-judgmental way. Guide students away from evaluating their visualizations as good/bad or right/wrong; instead, prompt students to notice that there are multiple possible ways to visualize a given data set and that the process of design is one of trying out solutions, evaluating them, and then refining them. Asking the following questions can help students think about how to optimize their visualizations:

    What works? Why?

    What could be improved or changed?

    Vizzie second draft and review 30 minutes
    1. Students collect their draft vizzies and feedback and discuss with their groups:

    What worked well?

    What could be improved?

    2. Have students get new pieces of paper and create a second draft of their vizzie based on the feedback they received on their first draft and their own observations of what was and was not effective.

    3. When finished, have students present their two vizzies side-by-side to the rest of the group. Ask students to share what they discovered in the iterative process of evaluating and refining their vizzies.

    What changed about your vizzie from the first draft to the second?

    What did you discover in this process that could be applied to visualizing different data?

    Student “vizzie” with feedback on sticky notes. Photo by Suzanne Perin

    First draft of a vizzie (top); second draft, incorporating peers’ feedback (bottom). Photos by Gabrielle Vance

    Extension
    Give students the opportunity to refine their vizzies yet again, incorporating feedback from their second drafts. Consider using Tableau Public (https://public.tableau.com/s/), charts in Google Sheets, or Google Data Studio (https://datastudio.google.com/u/0/navigation/reporting) to create and share vizzies digitally.

    Other resources
    Excel 2016 tutorial: https://www.gcflearnfree.org/excel2016/

    Google Sheets tutorial: https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9310369?hl=en

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Investigation 7: Landscape change detection

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 7: Landscape change detection
    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 45 minutes

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    • Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Earth and Space Science
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
    • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
    • Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Patterns
    • Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena.
    Stability and Change
    • Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

    Overview
    Students use aerial photography and satellite imagery to detect landscape change over time in Google Earth.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • investigate spatial and temporal variation in landscape characteristics.
    • discuss the impact of human activities on landscapes.

    Instructional approach
    This investigation complements and extends the previous satellite imagery investigation. Guiding questions include:

    What are natural and anthropogenic environmental changes and why should we care? How do we detect them?

    Over what time scales does landscape change occur? How do we know? For which time scales do we have data?

    Science background
    Satellites and aircraft capture remote sensing images of the Earth’s surface. Scientists use these film or digital images for mapping and geospatial analysis. (https://archive.usgs.gov/archive/sites/www.usgs.gov/pubprod/aerial.html)

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map series is based on aerial photographs taken from 1937 through 1980. (https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eros/science/usgs-eros-archive-aerial-photography-aerial-photo-mosaics?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects)

    Materials

    • Computers with Google Earth Pro (free), 1 per pair
    • Aerial imagery
    • Projector

    Setup
    1. Use https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/ (in the U.S.) to obtain aerial photography, as old as possible (e.g., black and white, ca. 1950s), of your area of interest. Ideally, Google Earth exploration will precede or follow a field trip. Consider if you will add this aerial imagery to Google Earth for students prior to the investigation, or save it, e.g., on Google Drive, and have them open it in Google Earth.

    2. Ensure all computers are charged and have Google Earth Pro (free).

    3. Post the list of helpful tips for interpreting satellite imagery and table of observations and interpretations from investigation 4.

    Investigation  45 minutes
    1. Revisit the list and table from investigation 4 (interpreting satellite imagery). Discuss:

            For what years does Google Earth have satellite imagery of our area of interest?

            What changes did you notice from older to newer satellite images?

    2. Let students know that most satellite imagery is from the 1970s or later, while aerial photography may be from as long ago as 1937. Have students work in pairs to open Google Earth, add the aerial photography layer,  and navigate to the area of interest.

    3. Ask a student volunteer to demonstrate or describe how to change the satellite imagery date and turn the aerial photography layer on and off. Encourage students to follow along with their partners, and circulate to assist them.

    4. Have students compare the historical aerial photography to current satellite imagery. Discuss:

    How has the landscape changed over time? How do you know?

    Why do you think this change occurred?

    What different types of impacts do you notice?

    5. Encourage students to use placemarks, lines, and polygons (or other tools, as appropriate) to document landscape changes in their area of interest. Students create a map (by taking a screenshot of Google Earth), e.g., of a river channel or glacier’s terminus through time.

    Student change detection map of the terminus of Herbert Glacier, Juneau, Alaska.

    Student change detection map of the Tanana River, Fairbanks, Alaska.

    Extension
    An alternative to change detection in Google Earth would be using printed satellite images and aerial photographs. Each student gets a set and a sheet of transparent film, on which they document change with an ultra fine tip permanent marker. Each student identifies changes individually, then compares them with those others noticed.

    Another extension is exploring Google Earth Timelapse: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

    Other resources
    USGS Earth Explorer help: https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/EEHelp/ee_help
    USGS aerial photography: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eros/science/usgs-eros-archive-aerial-photography-aerial-photo-mosaics?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
    How to interpret a satellite image: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/ColorImage
    Introduction to satellite imagery: https://www.pgc.umn.edu/guides/commercial-imagery/intro-satellite-imagery/

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 8: Observational drawing

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 1 hour

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    • Ask questions
    • that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Life Science [if drawing specimens that were once living, e.g., fish, leaves, shells]
    • LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
    • LS3.B: Variation of Traits
    • Environmental factors also affect expression of traits, and hence affect the probability of occurrences of traits in a population. Thus the variation and distribution of traits observed depends on both genetic and environmental factors.
    Earth and Space Science [if drawing rocks]
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
    • ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes
    • The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Structure and Function
    • The functions and properties of natural and designed objects and systems can be inferred from their overall structure, the way their components are shaped and used, and the molecular substructures of its various materials.

    Overview
    In science, observation is an initial step in generating new ideas. This exercise helps refine observational skills through drawing, and demonstrates that close observation leads to new questions. 

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • create a scientific sketch that communicates information that can be used by other scientists.
    • identify and describe specimen characteristics.
    • discuss and give examples of how:
    •  observation is a core practice for scientists.
    • close observation leads to new and more focused questions.
    • drawing from observation increases awareness of details.

    Instructional approach
    Close observation is a core practice of science. It allows us to break through our assumptions and preconceptions and notice new features and patterns in the world around us; ask new questions; discover new techniques; and generate new ideas. The instructor should guide the students through questions and prompts that encourage:

    • attention to details of texture and form
    • development of new questions based on observations
    • discussion of how scientists approach their work.

    The instructor should accept all student answers as value-neutral, and refrain from offering corrections to drawings. Instead, the instructor can help students observe their subject more closely by calling students’ attention to details with open-ended questions such as:

    How many colors do you see?

    How does the texture change in different areas of the object you are drawing?

    Science background
    When we draw from life, we must overcome our preconceived visual memory and train ourselves to draw what we actually see, rather than what we think we should see. Close observation is a skill that gets better with practice. Learning to draw from life also helps us see things we normally overlook in the world around us. Because drawing requires sustained and focused observation of form, proportion, texture, and light, we must overcome assumptions about what we think we are looking at, and instead begin to truly see what we are looking at. This close observation reveals new details and features, which in turn helps us generate new questions and ideas about the subject of our study. Such questions, in turn, can guide scientific investigations or aid in distinguishing different types of specimens.

    Materials

    • Specimens, 1 per student
    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student
    • Masking tape, 1 roll
    • Permanent markers, several
    • Drawing pencils and erasers, 1 per student

    Setup
    Decide what students will draw. Scout field area if they will collect it themselves, or collect it ahead of time, e.g., rocks, leaves, fish, insects, flowers, minerals, shells, seedpods.

    Investigation 1 hour
    1. Introduce “drawing as thinking” as a practice to record our observations, inferences, and questions. It is also one way we will share our ideas to generate group discussion around what we are studying. Ask students:

    Does anyone use journals or sketchbooks outside of school? What kinds of things do you record?

    What are the benefits of observation and drawing?

    Remind students that their field notebooks are their space to observe and wonder about the natural world (give ownership).

    Ask students how scientific drawing might be different from drawing for art. How might they be similar? Students turn and talk then share out to the group. Address the challenge of dealing with an inner negative voice and the importance of value-free judgements of drawings and other ideas shared within the group.

    Emphasize that the act of drawing can be as valuable as the drawing itself in coming to a deeper understanding of something, because drawing forces us to look carefully and to develop a familiarity with our study subject.

    2. For students to get the maximum benefit out of this exercise, they should be able to choose from a range of specimens, rather than being assigned one. These can also be collected in advance during a quick trip outside, where students can select specimens that interest them.

    Distribute specimens to students, e.g., if using fish for subsequent dissection, or give them a few minutes to gather their own (e.g., rocks, leaves). The more similar in size and shape the specimens are to each other, the more difficult the challenge will be. Make a plan to put specimens back after the activity (e.g., rocks) or collect only what is needed (e.g., a few leaves from living plants, or fallen leaves). 

    3. Instruct students to write their names on pieces of masking tape and attach them to the underside of their specimens (or dissection trays, if applicable).

    4. Give students half an hour to draw and describe their specimens in their field notebooks. Encourage students to measure their specimens and add descriptive labels to aid identification. Remind students that it is OK if their drawing does not look exactly like their object (representational accuracy can be developed through practice, but it is not the goal here) and that it is more important to record everything they see and notice about their object.

    5. As the students draw, direct their attention to various features with prompts:

    What colors/textures do you see? Do they change in different areas?

    Are there repeating shapes or other patterns?

    Instructors’ note: If a student finishes quickly, ask them to continue drawing until the time ends, adding more and more detail to their drawing. If there is not room on their drawing for more marks, they can start another “detail” drawing elsewhere on the page and focus on a small area of their object (for example, the wing of an insect, or the pistil of a flower).

    Do not suggest corrections to drawings. Instead, ask questions that help students observe their object more closely. Asking about relationships (e.g., What is the difference in texture between the petal and the leaf?) can direct students’ attention to the information they are missing and help them hone their own observations.

    6. Have small groups (five to eight students) mix up their specimens and try to find them again based on their drawings. Have students reflect on what parts of the drawings helped them identify their specimen. Then, give them a chance to add a few more details to their drawings.

    7. Have all students put their specimens on one surface, then mix them up. Students trade field notebooks with each other and try to find the sample depicted in each notebook based on its drawing and description. Can someone who did not observe the same specimen identify it based on the drawing and notes of the first student? This emphasizes the importance of acute observation and detailed documentation, especially when other scientists will be using one’s work.

    8. After a few minutes to study the specimens and drawings, students place each notebook next to the sample to which they think it corresponds. Ask:

    Who thinks they have the right sample?

    Who drew this sample? Was it a match?

    For mismatches, compare samples and drawings side by side. Have the group try to identify each specimen and ask them how they know.

    9. Have students reflect on what they think a good scientific drawing includes. Ask questions such as:

    What observations were particularly useful in finding your specimen or your classmate’s specimen?

    What other details, words or measurements could have made it easier to find the correct specimen?

    How does drawing (vs. taking a picture) help you notice the details of a specimen?

    What questions arose about your specimen as you drew it?

    If students have trouble formulating questions based on their observations, prompt them by asking why they think their object has a specific feature. For example, a student might share that they noticed a texture of tiny craters all over the bird’s egg they were drawing. Ask if they think the texture has a function, and what it might be? Does it remind them of anything they have seen before?

    Have students record the questions that arose about their object as they drew it on an adjacent page of their notebook.

    Drawing and dissecting salmon specimens. Photo by Suzanne Perin

    Photo by Michelle Eakman

    Sources
    http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Kit1-ALL_3-2017.pdf
    https://www.calacademy.org/educators/lesson-plans/observing-variation

    Extensions
    Now that students have generated questions about specimens that interest them, you may extend this activity be asking students to research their questions. Ask each student to choose one of the new questions that arose as they observed their specimen closely. Have the students investigate this question and compile their findings in a written report, a notebook entry, or an oral presentation to the class.

    This investigation makes a great introduction to dissection, e.g., if using fish.

    Other possible drawing exercises include drawing from memory (vs. observation) and blind contour drawing. See http://www.colorsofnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Kit1-ALL_3-2017.pdf.

    Field drawing with observations and interpretations 30 minutes
    1. Give students ten minutes to work in silence in their science notebooks to record aspects of the habitat and explain that we will share these drawings with each other in order to generate a discussion about it. To encourage them to look more closely, consider prompting questions. Examples include:

    What parts of the habitat matter to the species of interest?

    How do humans use this habitat?

    2. Ask students to stand in a circle and lay out their field notebooks in the middle for the group to see. Encourage them to compare and contrast the field drawings and written descriptions. Helpful questions to guide discussion:

    What kinds of details did people record?

    How did different students use text or aspects of their drawings to record observations?

    Any tricks you might steal for your next field drawings?

    Did anyone generate new questions about this habitat after having a chance to sit and observe in silence?

    While drawing, did anyone observe anything surprising or unexpected?

    3. Ask students to find something in the habitat they find interesting and bring it back to the group. Ask them what an inference is and how it differs from an observation. Have them work in pairs or small groups to describe the object they collected. During the first round of sharing within small groups or pairs, share only observations (two-three minutes). In the second round, share only inferences. In the third round, share personal connections and curiosities (questions). If students share connections with an object or the place, encourage them to cite their sources.

    4. Solicit ideas from the students about ways that observations and inferences can be kept separate or clearly identified in a science notebook (e.g., dividing the page and listing out observations and inferences separately, using opposing pages for each, labeling with an “O” or “I”).

    Drawing with hand lenses 30 minutes

    • Hand lenses (1 per student)

    This extension allows students to explore a tool that changes the scale at which they observe their specimen, and consider the benefits and limitations of this approach.

    1. Hold up a hand lens for the class to see and ask students if they have ever seen or used a hand lens? When? What do they do (function)? Hand out the hand lenses and allow students to spend a few minutes observing their objects through them.

    2. Ask if anyone has discovered an optimal distance for using the hand lens and have them share with their peers.

    Instructors’ note: Bring the hand lens close to the eye and move the object towards the hand lens until it comes into focus. The focal length will depend on the magnification power of the hand lens. For a 10x magnification hand lens, the focal length will be an inch or less.

    3. Confirm that everyone has been able to obtain a focused image with the hand lens.

    4. Let students know that portable hand lenses, also known as loupes (pronounced “loops”), are scientific tools.

    Why might a scientist use this tool?

    5. Let students know they will be using this tool to observe their chosen object and will be drawing the magnified image they see. This can be just a small part of the object, such as the surface texture or a specific feature.

    6. Ask students to begin a 10-minute drawing of their object as seen through the hand lens. They can draw in pen, pencil, colored pencil, or a combination, whatever they feel is most appropriate to record their observations.

    Reflection 10 minutes
    Ask students to share their discoveries.

    What are the benefits of using the hand lens to observe your object?

    What are the drawbacks or limitations of using the hand lens to observe your object?

    What did you notice about your object when observed through the hand lens that you did not notice before?

    Is there anything you could do to make the hand lens more useful as an observation tool?

    What other tools might you use to examine your object?

    Have students make notes on the back or in the margins of the drawing, including their reflections on the benefits and drawbacks of using a hand lens.

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

     

    Investigation 9: Futurecasting

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 9: Futurecasting

    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 45 minutes
    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking Questions and Defining Problems

    • Ask questions

      • that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    Earth and Space Science

    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems

      • ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

        • Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Stability and Change

    • Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

    Overview
    Students develop and share short science fiction stories, e.g., to prepare them for developing final research projects.

    Learning objectives
    Students will be able to:

    • create and share a micro-science-fiction prototype.

    Instructional approach
    This investigation reinforces the creative aspect of science and scientific research. While valuable on its own, it could also serve as a warm-up exercise to help students come up with creative questions for their own research projects. Instructor should guide discussion and brainstorming:

    How do we think our area of interest will change in the future? What data would a future scientist need from us now in order to understand such changes?

    What are natural and anthropogenic environmental changes and why should we care? How do we detect them?

    This investigation considers change over centuries, but encourage students to consider multiple timescales, e.g., human, evolutionary, geological.

    While students create micro-science-fiction prototypes, we refer to the entire activity as futurecasting (a more informative description). The “micro” time limit helps boost creativity and discourage perfectionism.

    Science background
    “What is Micro-Science-Fiction Prototyping? µSFP (Micro-SFP) is a combination of three concepts, first Science-Fiction Prototyping (a methodology that uses people’s imagination to write fictional stories to instantiate ideas for new products, businesses or political systems), second Micro-Fiction (a genre of writing ultra short stories as small as just 6 words) and finally, Twitter and Texting (a means of communicating meaningful messages in less than 140 and 160 characters).” (http://www.creative-science.org/activities/microsfp/)

    Materials

    • Rite in the Rain 4x6” notebooks, 1 per student

    • Pencils, 1 per student

    • Timer

    Investigation 45 minutes
    1. Brief group discussion:

    Does science have to be serious?
    Who likes science fiction?
    What are the qualities of science fiction?

    2. Share examples of student stories from Juneau, Alaska (below). Ask students:

    What do these stories have in common?

    List the elements students suggest in a visible place.

    3. Let students know that they will do a brief writing exercise exploring possibilities in the future. In their notebooks, they will develop three quick stories or scenarios (in two minutes each, timed), including:

    • Setting: our community, region, or field area 200 years in the future 

    • Protagonist: a future scientist

    • Plot: action, something happens

    4. Ensure students are ready to write and set the timer for two minutes. Give students a warning when they have 30 seconds remaining . When the timer goes off, they set their pencil aside and turn to a new page in their notebooks. Reassure students that it is OK not to finish their stories; the short time limit is intended to boost creativity and minimize perfectionism.

    5. Give students two minutes to write a second microSFP. Repeat for a third microSFP.

    6. Students find a partner and share their favorite microSFP, then work together to jot down a list of what kinds of data they could collect today to help future scientists understand the scenario they developed. Give students the option to share with the entire group after sharing with partners.

    Extension
    In addition to using futurecasting to generate potential research questions, students may choose one microSFP to revise and/or illustrate.

    Illustrating microSFPs 1 hour
    Materials

    • 4x6” Rite in the Rain notebooks (with microSFPs), 1 per student

    • Scratch paper

    • Blank books, 1 per student (http://www.barebooks.com/product/2501-landscape-blank-bare-book/)

    • Magazines and calendars, assorted topics

    • Construction paper, assorted colors

    • Pencils, 1 per student

    • Colored pencils, several sets

    • Watercolor pencils, at least 1 set

    • Watercolor brushes, at least 1 set

    • Water cups, 1 per 2 students

    • Markers, at least 1 set

    • Oil pastels, at least 1 set

    • Sakura Pigma Micron pens, at least 1 set of 8 (various sizes) (https://www.dickblick.com/items/20702-2089/)

    • Glue sticks, 1 per 2 students

    • Scissors, 1 per 2 students

    1. Let students know that they will use drawing and/or collage to illustrate one of their microSFPs written previously. If any students do not have their notebooks with microSFPs, give them two minutes to write a new one while the other students are deciding which microSFP (of three) to illustrate.

    2. Pass out blank books. Show students materials and encourage careful usage, including gentle pressure when drawing with the Micron pens. They are ideal for illustration, but their fine nibs can bend or break under excessive pressure. Giving students options to choose from, e.g., drawing with multiple media and incorporating collage, builds creative agency. 

    3. Give students time to illustrate their microSFPs in the blank books. They may choose to include a title page and captions under each illustration.

    4. If time allows, have students leave their books open to a favorite page, then circulate around and view each other’s work in a gallery walk.

    Illustrating microSFPs. Photo by Gabrielle Vance

    Other resources
    “Using science fiction to explore business innovation”: https://www.digitalpulse.pwc.com.au/science-fiction-explore-business-innovation/
    “Nike and Boeing Are Paying Sci-Fi Writers to Predict Their Futures”: https://onezero.medium.com/nike-and-boeing-are-paying-sci-fi-writers-to-predict-their-futures-fdc4b6165fa4

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    Investigation 10: STEM speed mentoring

    Broadening Research Interest in Geoscience, Habitat, and Technology (BRIGHT)
    Investigation 10: STEM speed mentoring
    Grades: 9-12
    Time requirement: 1.5 hours

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
    • Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.
    Disciplinary Core Ideas
    Earth and Space Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
    • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
    • The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.
    Crosscutting Concepts
    Science is a Human Endeavor
    • Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.
    • Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.
    • Scientists’ backgrounds, theoretical commitments, and fields of endeavor influence the nature of their findings.

    Overview
    Students use a speed dating format (short, rotating conversations) as a fun, informal way to get to know local STEM mentors. STEM speed mentoring can be a capstone experience following students’ successful research projects, or a stand-alone activity.

    Learning objectives
    Students will understand that:

    • Scientists use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.
    • Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.
    • Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.
    • Scientists’ backgrounds, theoretical commitments, and fields of endeavor influence the nature of their findings.

    Instructional approach
    The instructor should establish a safe, collaborative, and value-neutral space to share experiences, and assist students and STEM mentors in doing so.

    Students and STEM mentors enjoyed these events immensely in Fairbanks and Juneau, Alaska. Female students benefited from meeting female STEM professionals and shared that talking to them helped them figure out what they wanted to do. Several of the STEM mentors commented that they enjoyed meeting each other and wanted each others’ contact information, a bonus benefit of this student-focused event. One even said she wished she had experienced something like this in high school, that it would have saved her years of uncertainty!

    Science background
    Studies like the Draw-a-Scientist Test show the importance of representation in STEM. Students from underrepresented groups (and students in general) benefit from a chance to interact with STEM mentors from diverse backgrounds. (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/what-we-learn-from-50-years-of-asking-children-to-draw-scientists/556025/)

    Materials

    • Name tags, 1 per person (students and STEM mentors)
    • Markers, 1 set
    • Lists of questions for students, 1 per STEM mentor
    • Lists of questions for STEM mentors, 1 per student
    • Timer

    Setup
    1. Invite STEM mentors (ideally, one per student). Send them the questions to contemplate beforehand, and invite them to bring interesting objects, equipment, or figures with them, if they wish. Consider representation, e.g., mentoring and role modeling from underrepresented groups. Ask for mentors’ permission to share their contact information with students and with each other.

    2. Revise and print questions for students and STEM mentors.

    3. Decide if refreshments will be served, e.g., tea, coffee, juice, fruit, pastries. If so, purchase refreshments and paper plates, cups, napkins, and forks.

    4. Arrange space for speed mentoring, similar to a speed dating format, e.g., parallel rows of chairs. Put question lists on chairs.

    Investigation 1.5 hours (depending on number of students and mentors and length of conversations)
    1. STEM mentors arrive and fill out name tags; they have contemplated the questions for themselves and for students beforehand, and may have brought interesting objects, equipment, or figures with them.

    2. Students arrive, fill out name tags, and receive example questions to ask professionals (which have also been shared with students and professionals prior to the event).

    3. Give everyone a chance to get refreshments, if applicable. The ideal event atmosphere is fun and informal, but the timing is strict!

    4. STEM mentors and students each take 30 seconds (timed) to introduce themselves to the entire group (name, field, title), to avoid repeating this information during each conversation.

    5. Students rotate and talk to each STEM mentor individually (or in pairs, depending on the number of students and mentors). Time rotations depending on the number of attendees, e.g., 10 STEM mentors  x 5 minutes per conversation. Use an amusing timer sound to signal the end of each rotation.

    6. After the last conversation (every student has talked to every STEM mentor), share emergent themes as a big group, thank everyone for participating, and encourage students to engage in follow-up chats.

    7. Share contact information to continue the conversations!

    Extension
    One possible extension for this activity is including remote participants, students or STEM mentors, e.g., using FaceTime. Students could also expand upon their initial conversations by interviewing STEM mentors, e.g., for their school or local paper or public radio station. 

    Example questions for STEM mentors
    How did you enter your field?

    What has your career path been like?

    When you were in school, did you know that you would join this profession? If not, were you disappointed when you did not follow the first career you had in mind?

    Has your career changed over the years? Do you think your career will change in the future?

    Do you have an analogy to help me understand your work?

    On a typical day/week in your position, what do you do?

    What tools do you use in your work?

    Do you work alone, in pairs, in teams, or in another arrangement?

    What are the toughest problems you solve?

    What is the most rewarding part of your work?

    Do you encounter obstacles in STEM, e.g., as a member of an underrepresented group? If so, what are they, and how do you overcome them?

    What kinds of prior experience does your role require?

    What interests, skills, and abilities benefit you in your role?

    What advice would you give a student interested in your field?

    How do people find out about positions like yours?

    How do you see your field changing in the future?

    What are your concerns about your field?

    What do you do if you don't like your work/job?

    What do you like to do when you’re not working?

    Example questions for students
    What do you like to do in your free time?

    Describe a typical day/week in your life.

    What kinds of problems do you like to solve?

    Do you prefer to work alone, in pairs, in teams, or in another arrangement?

    Do you have ideas about possible career paths you might take?

    Do your ideas about possible careers connect to classes you’ve taken in school and/or to interests outside of school? If so, which ones?

    Do you have particular skills or abilities that you hope to use in a future job?

    Do you encounter obstacles in high school? If so, what are they, and how do you overcome them?

    What was the BRIGHT program like? What kinds of things did you did you do during the program?

    How did you decide on your research project?

    What did you think of research?

    When you encountered problems, how did you solve them?

    What advice do you have for scientists like me?

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1513328. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.