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Soil + water = a great learning experience

Local teachers get messy and learn about microbial ecosystems.
May 3, 2018
Teachers working in a classroom

Regional teachers got hands-on experience building mini ecosystems.

"Able to take back to the classroom right away. Awesome learning!" said a teacher after the recent workshop.

On April 17, regional teachers attended a “Saturday Science” professional development workshop held by the Santa Fe Science Initiative (SFSI). Such events help attendees expand their abilities to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

SFSI conducted the session with the Santa Fe Public Schools system (SFPS). Teachers focused on learning about microbial ecology during the three-hour session led by the Bradbury Science Museum’s own Pam Dresher along with SFSI staff member Diane Catron.

Each of the SFSI’s six annual workshops are hands-on and, during this one, attendees learned how to build mini ecosystems for later use in their classrooms. The teachers can now help their students understand that factors such as access to sunlight, oxygen, and other nutrients mean different types of microbes thrive in different areas of the environment. Geared toward teachers in grades four through eight, the session also included guidance on how to facilitate science inquiry and respond to questions from students when teachers don’t already have the answers.

Feedback from the session shows how beneficial such workshops can be for teachers.

“Fabulous, thank you so much once again for the training that always allows us to take things and apply them directly into the classroom."

"Able to take back to the classroom right away. Awesome learning!"

The workshop’s content is aligned with the New Mexico STEM Ready! Science Standards. The Lab’s Community Partnerships Office assisted with financial support to teachers from outside of Santa Fe to attend the workshop including those from Cochiti and Zuni Pueblos.

Are you a regional teacher?

If you’re a teacher in Santa Fe, you can learn about upcoming workshops through the SFPS website, (www.sfscience.org). If you teach outside of Santa Fe but would like to know more about available SFSI opportunities (including potential financial support to attend a workshop), contact its executive director, Susan McIntosh, at susan@sfscience.org.